Skip to main content

Full text of "The symbolism of Voltaire's novels, with special reference to Zadig"

See other formats



: CO 
= 00 









II rights referred 

Copyright, 1911 

Printed from type. Published September, 1911 
















The Symbolism of Voltaire's Novels 
With Special Reference to Zadig 



THE purpose of this Introduction is to show, 
(1) where a real lacuna exists in the study of 
Voltaire's novels, and (2) how that lacuna is to 
be filled. 

In order to show this, I shall give a resume 
and an analysis of what has been done by my 
predecessors in the field. 


'No less a scholar than Gaston Paris has treated 

the episode of the Angel and the Hermit (La 
Poesie du moyen age, premiere serie, troisieme 
edition, Paris, 1895, p. 151 ft.) as it has ap- 
peared in literature from the earliest times 
down. If he had connected this episode with 
1 1 


Voltaire's life and informed us just what Vol- 
*" taire meant by it, there would be nothing more 
to be said on this topic; but, unfortunately, he 
neglected to do that. 

There is a dissertation on the Sources of 
Zadig, by Mr. W. Seele (Leipzig, 1891), which 
is largely an elaboration of hints thrown out by 
Dunlop and others. The author confines him- 
self strictly to his subject of the sources, giving 
nothing about Voltaire's purpose in writing the 

In treating the general topic of the Orient in 
French, German and English literatures, the 
following authors have something to say about 
Zadig: (1) Pierre Martino (L' Orient dans la 
litterature frangaise au XVII 6 et au XVIII 6 
siecle, Paris, 1906) ; (2) A. J. F. Remy (The 
Influence of India and Persia on the poetry of 
Germany, New York, 1901) ; (3) Martha P. 
Conant (The Oriental Tale in England in the 
Eighteenth Century, New York, 1908). 

M. Pierre Martino gives the impression that he 
is not at all sure just what Zadig purports to be ; 
he dismisses the subject of its realism by saying 
that it is a capricious tale in the style of Crebil- 
lon fils, in which allusions to modern life crop 


up unexpectedly and by way of contrast (p. 
277 f.). Dr- Remy points out the immediate 
and the ultimate sources of the novel (p. 15), 
and calls attention to the meaning of the name 
of the hero as " Speaker of the truth " (follow- 
ing, in this interpretation, Hammer, Geschichte 
der schonen Redekiinste Persiens) . But neither 
Remy nor Hammer attempted to show whether 
Voltaire was familiar with this meaning, either 
by citing his possible authorities, or by internal 
evidence from the novel. Miss Conant says (p. 
135) that Zadig is, "of course," Voltaire, but 
she offers no evidence to substantiate her asser- 
tion. She probably followed Parton's Life of 
Voltaire, in which the Duchess of Maine is 
quoted as authority for that application. Miss 
Conant also indicates her belief that the other 
characters, "with their fanciful Oriental 
names," are Voltaire's court friends and 

Desnoiresterres has little to say about Vol- 
taire's novels. He gives a paragraph of three 
lines to Candide, and calls attention, in a note, 
to the perfidious intention, the sly allusions, of 
Zadig. In his well-known Life of Voltaire, 
S. G. Tallentyre says that Candide is directed 


against Jean Jacques Rousseau, but fails to 
specify in what way and to what extent. The 
general histories of the novel are just as meagre, 
with the exception of Dunlop, for the sources 
of Zadig. Dunlop contrasts the successful in- 
vestigation of the sources of Zadig with the fail- 
ure to discover any literary sources for Candide. 

There are a few magazine articles about Vol- 
taire's novels, of which the following may be 
mentioned: (1) Blackwood's Magazine, IV 
(1819), p. 155 ff.; (2) Dublin University 
Magazine, LXVII (1866), p. 64 ff., p. 184 ff.; 
(3) Modern Language Notes, 1906 (in which 
Mr. Leon Fraser points out the earliest source 
of the episode of the Dog and the Horse, in the 
Talmud) . 

Louis Moland (whose edition of Voltaire's 
works will be referred to as M., followed by the 
volume and the page number), gives excerpts 
of the more important utterances about Vol- 
taire's novels (in Vols. I and XXI, the latter 
of which contains the novels). They deal prin- 
cipally with the moral of the novels (i. e. f the 
philosophic thesis, what the Germans call the 
Tendenz), or they are expressions of personal 
impressions. Moland's edition also reproduces 


the footnotes of his predecessors, and offers some 
original ones. They give important indications 
of the purpose of Voltaire in writing his novels, 
but no general conclusions are drawn from them. 


The above resume of the Bibliography shows 
that the three points of view in literary criti- 
cism: the historical, the psychological, and the 
impressionistic, are all represented, but in very 
unequal proportions and by critics of widely 
different significance. I shall treat them suc- 
cessively under their proper headings. 


The historical criticisms deal, it will be 
noticed, exclusively with the literary sources. 
The problem that confronts us here is to deter- 
mine the significance of such investigations for 
the interpretation of Voltaire's novels. 

No attempt is made by me to belittle the im- 
portance of the investigation of sources per se; 
the point is, whether such investigations are im- 
portant for Voltaire's work. I shall attempt to 
show that they have little or no importance. 

In the first place, what have we accomplished 


when we have shown that every episode in 
Zadig is imitated from this or that literary 
source ? We have, at the most, confirmed Fre- 
ron's charge (M. 21, p. 86, note 1), that Vol- 
taire was a common plagiarist, lacking in in- 
vention and devoid of imagination. That would 
be a remarkable conclusion about the work of 
a man like Voltaire, whose imagination re- 
ceived such unstinted praise from his contem- 
poraries, and which, even to us, sparkles and 
effervesces through the printed words. 

In the second place, if Zadig is a literary 
patch-work, how are we to explain Candide, for 
which no literary sources have been discovered ? 
Is it likely that Voltaire's imagination, verve, 
originality, invention were less in 1747 than in 
1759 ? On the contrary, the conclusion is 

I consider it demonstrated that, the greater 
and the better founded the charges of imitation 
in Zadig seem, the less the significance of such 
charges is for the interpretation of Voltaire's 

Now, if the significance of Voltaire's novels 
is not in the sources, wherein does it consist? 
I shall show that it consists in his symbolism. 


In the first place, what has Voltaire to do 
with Oriental fiction? or with fiction? or with 
the Orient ? Is it not clear that the Orient is, 
for him, but a symbol for the Occident, just as / 
he speaks of the bonzes and the Magians as 
symbols of the priests of France ? We must 
never lose sight of the intensely practical char- 
acter of Voltaire's work; its very intimate con- 
nection with his own life and the life of his 
times. He was not the type of author who shut 
himself up in his study and thought out or 
sought out fine themes and situations for artistic 
remaniment. Even his dramas have an inti- 
mate connection with the thought, life, and 
social conditions in which he lived. He was 
probably inspired to compose (Edipe by the 
relations of the Kegent and his daughter, the 
famous Duchess of Berry. He tells us that the 
persecutions which he suffered during the period 
of the Voltairomanie turned to tragic sentiments 
and inspired the composition of Zulime and 
Mahomet (M. 35, pp. 226-227). If that is 
true of his dramas, how much more must it be 
true of his novels! There is an edition of 
Zadig of the year 1756 (cf. Bengesco, I, p. 438, 
note) entitled: La destinee ou le theatre de la 


vie humaine, ouvrage historique de M. de Vol- 
taire. The publisher of that edition took liber- 
ties with Voltaire's title, but the character of 
Voltaire's work justifies them. Destiny is but 
the linking of cause and effect in a given en- 
vironment. If, in Zadig, the Orient is a symbol 
for the Occident, the characters, the scenes, the 
incidents and episodes of the novel are also sym- 
bolic, and the literary sources can have nothing 
to do with the interpretation of the work. Vol- 
taire seems to wish to indicate that the sig- 
nificance of Zadig lies in its symbolism, when 
he says, in the Epitre dedicatoire (M. 21, p. 
32), that I'histoire de Zadig (est un) ouvrage 
qui dit plus qu'il ne semble dire. 

The conclusion which we have reached by an 
analysis of the historical criticisms is fortified 
by Voltaire's opinions about the novel in gen- 
eral, and about particular novels. It is obvious 
that one of the best indications as to what Vol- 
taire's novels are likely to be, as well as what 
they are likely not to be, is furnished by his 
criticisms of. other novels. The following are 
the more important of these criticisms. 



He praises Gulliver (M. 33, p. 165; Febr. 
1727), which had appeared the preceding year. 
"C'est le Rabelais de PAngleterre; mais c'est 
un Habelais sans fatras, et ce livre serait amu- 
sant par lui-meme, par les imaginations singu- 
lieres dont il est plein, par la legerete de son 
style, . . . quand il ne serait pas d'ailleurs la 
satire du genre humain." 

He does not understand the Esprit des Lois, 
but he praises the Lettres persanes: "bon ouv- 
rage que celui-la" (M. 1, p. 349). "Ces ouv- 
rages d'ordinaire ne reussissent qu'a la faveur 
de 1'air etranger; on met avec succes dans la 
bouche d'un Asiatique la satire de notre pays, 
qui serait bien moins accueillie dans la bouche 
d'un compatriote ; ce qui est commun par soi- 
meme devient alors singulier" (M. 14, Cata- 
logue des grands ecrivains, article Montesquieu}. 

He praises the satire of contemporary events 
and personages by Crebillon fils (Tanzai et 


Neardane, ou I' Ecumoire, Jiistoire japonaise). 
"L'Histoire japonaise m'a fort rejoui dans ma 
solitude; je ne sais rien de si fou que ce livre, 
et rien de si sot que d'avoir mis Pauteur a la Bas- 
tille. Dans quel siecle vivons-nous done? On 


brulerait apparemment La Fontaine au- 
jourd'hui" (M. 33, p. 461, note; p. 4T2). 
They would have burned him (Voltaire), if 
he had been the author, is the sentiment of his 

There are scores of references for his scorn 
of the usual type of novel, with its imaginary 
events and personages. They are lacking in 
imagination, full of portraits of people whom 
the author does not know (M. 21, p. 48), and 
spoil the taste of young people (M. 14, p. 142). 
There is more in four pages of Ariosto than in 
all these insipid writings which inundate 
France. He is never tired of praising Ariosto's 
admirable allegories, which make his poems im- 

The following letter to Marmontel, whose 
Conies moraux were so popular in the latter 
half of the 18th century, is a perfectly clear and 
definite indication of Voltaire's conception of 
the mission which fiction should fulfill (Janu- 
ary 28, 1764) ; " Vous devriez bien nous faire 
des contes philosophiques, ou vous rendriez 
ridicules certains sots et certaines sottises, cer- 
taines mechancetes et certains mechants; le 
tout avec discretion, en prenant bien votre 


temps, et en rognant les griffes de la bete quand 
vous la trouverez un peu endonnie." What 
better plan, and what plan more in harmony 
with all that we know of Voltaire, could be 
chosen by the author of Zadig and Candide, 
than the one indicated here: to draw his char- 
acters and scenes from reality, subordinated to 
an anti-religious tendency ? It is significant for 
his realism that he wrote to the Marquis de 
Thibouville, author of love stories of Egypt 
and Syria, that Mme. Denis was more inter- 
ested in what was taking place in Germany dur- 
ing the Seven Years' War, than in what was 
going on at Memphis and Babylon (M. 39, p. 
301). Frederick also shows that he was fully 
cognizant of the realistic bearing of Voltaire's 
works when he urges him to write an AJcakia 
to flay the fools of Europe and their follies (M. 
39, p. 434). There is no doubt that Voltaire 
was following his advice when he composed 
Candide. Frederick also gives testimony to the 
presence of moral allegories in Zadig and Can- 
dide (M. 1, p. 139; Eloge de Voltaire par le 
roi de Prusse). 

Enough has been quoted to show, in connec- 
tion with the historical criticisms which we 


have analysed, that the significance of Vol- 
taire's novels must consist in their relation to 
his life and the life of his times. This is really 
a problem in psychological criticism. 


The analysis of the Bibliography shows but 
few and scattered traces of psychological criti- 
cism. Where it appears is principally in con- 
nection with the moral of the novels. This is 
all well and good in the case of some of the 
novels, as Micromegas, for example; here the 
moral is everything. Take away the philo- 
sophic idea of the relativity of things and there 
would be nothing left. Likewise in L'Ingenu, 
with its dearth of characters and incident, and 
its wealth of discussion and quotations, the 
tendency of the novel is of paramount impor- 
tance. But this is far from being the case in 
Zadig and Candide, with their great variety of 
characters and episodes. Here the moral does 
not play so great a role, nor is it so easy to de- 
termine just what that moral is. For example, 
how much further are we advanced, if, like Mo- 
land, we subscribe to Auger's explanation of the 
moral of Zadig and Candide? (M. 21, p. IV of 


the Averiissement} : " Zadig a pour objet de 
demontrer que la Providence nous conduit par 
des voies dont le secret lui appartient et dont 
souvent s'indigne notre raison bornee et peu 
soumise. Candide, tableau epouvantablement 
gai des miseres de la vie humaine, est une refu- 
tation du systeme de 1'optimisme, deja combattu 
par Fauteur dans son poeme du Desastre de Lis- 
bonne." We need to define our terms here, or 
Auger's words are either meaningless or mis- 
leading. We must know what Voltaire means 
by Providence Jn Zadig and by Optimism in 
Candide. Is it not rather strange that the 
author of the Essai sur les mceurs and of the 
Dictionnaire philosophique, through both of 
which the phrase, odorous la Providence et 
soumettons-nous, runs like a mocking refrain, 
should mean it seriously and literally, in the 
Christian sense, in Zadig? And is it not just 
as strange that Voltaire, who never changed his 
mind about Pope's Essay on Man, which he 
calls the finest didactic poem ever written, and 
who himself was a cause- finalier, should refute 
the system of Optimism, as a philosophic con- 
ception, in Candide? 

What is the secret of these and similar con- 


tradictions in Voltaire? Why, for example, 
does the man of whom Marmontel truly said 
(Memoires, Vol. 2; quoted from M. 1, p. 38; 
Jugements sur Voltaire} : " Mais le plus grand 
des biens, le repos, lui fut inconnu," appear in 
the role of the Sybarite in the Mondain? Such 
contradictions are only apparent contradictions. 
Either the author takes only one phase of a 
given conception, or philosophic system, and 
uses it as a convenient thread on which he 
strings a number of episodes, or, on the other 
hand, it is not a bit different with his work 
than with his descriptions of the court, for ex- 
ample. At one time the court is the palais 
d'Alcine; at another it is the palais du vice. It 
all depends upon the author's personal experi- 
ences within a given period and the purpose he 
has in view in the composition of his works. 
Any judgment of his literary productions apart 
from the experiences in which they are rooted is 
bound to be false and misleading. Thus Faguet 
charges him, from the title of one of his Epitres, 
with continually arguing the Pour and the 
Contre. There is a basis of truth in Faguet's 
charge; Voltaire does argue for and against, 
but he has good and sufficient reason for so 


doing. The presentation of arguments for and 
against in the same work is a frequent device, 
with him to keep the postern open when the 
main entrance is garnished by the emissaries of 
persecution; his enemies have mistaken the 
interlocutors ; his own ideas are those of A, not 
those of B. Voltaire alternately praises and 
lashes his century, but the progress of reason 
on the one hand, or the success of certain fools 
and their follies on the other hand, are sufficient 
explanation of his conduct. 

There have been two fallacies in the psycho- 
logical criticisms of Voltaire's novels. They 
both have to do with the moral, or tendency of 
the novels, and consist in its interpretation with- 
out due consideration, first, of the various mean- 
ings that may be attached to such words as 
Providence, Destiny, Optimism, and second, of 
the author's experiences in the period in which 
his work was conceived and composed. Thus 
the psychological point of view, as it has been 
applied to Voltaire's novels, has produced little 
more than impressionism. 



It is axiomatic that the personal opinions of a 
critic have no more authority than we are will- 
ing, or than we are obliged by various con- 
siderations, to concede to them; yet they are 
often of value, in that they indicate a lacuna 
for historical and psychological criticism to fill. 
The very fact that the impressionist expresses 
an opinion without having maturely investi- 
gated the subject and without a show of evi- 
dence to support his conclusion, leaves the field 
open for confirmation or refutal. This is true, 
in a remarkable degree, of the criticisms of 
Voltaire's novels. 


The Duchess of Maine asserted, according 
to Parton, that Zadig was Voltaire, and that 
Moabdar was Louis XV. Such an expression 
of opinion can not be disposed of offhand. 
Many of Voltaire's novels were composed at 
Sceaux, and the Duchess was in a position to 
know intimately the character of these novels, 
and especially that of Zadig. A large problem 
is here suggested : the identification of the char- 
acters of the novel with their actual or probable 


prototypes. That most of the personages of the 
novel are Voltaire's friends and enemies " under 
fanciful Oriental names," as suggested by Miss 
Conant, seems probable, first, in view of the 
statement of the Duchess of Maine, second, be- 
cause one character, Yebor, has long been iden- 
tified with Boyer, and third, because, in all Vol- 
taire's novels, there are an infinity of allusions 
to contemporary events and personages. The 
probabilities, then, are all in favor of the hy- 
pothesis that Cador, for example, is a particular 
friend of Voltaire, and that Arimaze is a par- 
ticular Envieux. 

What Desnoiresterres calls I'intention perfide, 
I'allusion sournoise suggests an equally impor- 
tant lacuna, intimately connected with the pre- 
ceding. What was this intention? What are 
these allusions ? 

The opinion of the King of Prussia that 
Zadig and Candide contain moral allegories 
suggests a third problem of no less importance : 
the discovery and interpretation of these alle- 

The opinion of Hammer and Remy that the 
name Zadig is from the Arabic and means 
" Speaker of the truth " suggests a fourth prob- 


lem of equal significance: the interpretation of 
the proper names of the novels. That a real 
problem confronts us here is obvious, first, be- 
cause, if Zadig meant the " Truth-teller " for 
Voltaire, that meaning must have influenced the 
conception and execution of his novel; second, 
because one anagramme (Yebor for Boyer) has 
been discovered in the novel ; third, because we 
meet with such curious names in Voltaire's 
novels: Orcan, Ogul, Arbogad, Cacambo, Thun- 
der-ten-tronckh, among others, and it is hardly 
conceivable that they mean nothing. 

One of the most prominent traits of the litera- 
tures that Voltaire is imitating in Zadig is the 
ready bestowal of epithets to commemorate cer- 
tain events. Numerous instances of this will 
occur to any reader of the Bible. An Arab had 
as many epithets as he had characteristics. Be- 
sides, Voltaire's chief argument that the 
wretched Hebrews borrowed their cult from the 
Egyptians, the Phrenicians, and the Babylon- 
ians, was drawn from a study of their proper 
names. They got their Adonai' from the Phoe 
nicians, their angels and devils from the Chal- 
deans, their Enoch was the same as Janus, their 
Eloa was the same root as Helios, etc. Voltaire 


simply imitated the scholarship of his time, 
wherever it suited his purpose. If it did not 
suit his purpose, he discarded it with scorn and 
irony. He then refers to it as the "demon of 
etymologizing." Bochart and Calmet continu- 
ally explained French words as derived from 
the Hebrew. Bochart considered that Chinese 
and German were the same language (M. 17, 
p. 516). He made the Celts a colony of the 
Egyptians (M. 18, p. 107). Voltaire charges 
the authors of the Dictionnaire de Trevoux with 
carrying this practice of etymologizing accord- 
ing to sound to an absurd excess (M. 17, p. 
126). Dome, they say, is from Samaritan 
Doma, which means " better " ; Phison is the 
same as the Guadalquivir, because, " de Phison 
on fait aisement Phaetis; de Phaetis on fait 
Baetis, qui est precisement le Guadalquivir" 
(M. 17, p. 275). 

In view of Voltaire's known practice and 
that of his contemporaries, it would seem im- 
portant to determine the provenience of the 
names of his characters. Take the name of the 
angel Jesrad, for example. Can there be any 
adequate interpretation of the episode in which 
he appears, without an investigation of the name 


of this enigmatical creature, who is man and 
angel, who speaks so wisely and acts so diabol- 
ically, and who finally flies back to the tenth 
sphere, which mythology has always assigned 
as the abode of the supreme being? Or, con- 
sider Arbogad, the robber. In Hebrew, gad 
means both "robber" and "God." How can 
a robber be God ? Or how can God be a robber ? 
And what has arbo to do with the name ? 

The names of the characters, the identifica- 
tion of the characters, the interpretation of the 
purpose of the author, of his allusions, of his 
allegories, are all phases of one and the same 
question, namely, Voltaire's symbolism. That 
is the lacuna. 


The question that must be answered now, is : 
How is this lacuna to be filled ? I shall try to 
fill it by a careful study of Voltaire's method of 

I do not refer here to Voltaire's style ; I am 
not concerned with the vivacity of his language, 
the rapidity of his action, the lightness of his 
touch, the precision of his comparisons. What 
I wish to ascertain is, how he came to create 


certain characters ; what they actually are, why 
they are just what they are, i. e. t what the au- 
thor meant them to be, and why. The problem 
is one of psychological analysis; the method is 
a painstaking search for data; the data are 
furnished by Voltaire's works in fifty large 
octavo volumes. 


IN this chapter I shall examine, (1) what 
Voltaire's symbolism is; (2) what its sources 
are; (3) why he made use of it; and (4) his 
method of composition. 

I am not particularly concerned with symbol- 
ism, as such, but rather with a certain type of 
narrative, description, and characterization 
which I think that I have discovered in Voltaire 
and which, for want of a better name, I have 
termed Voltaire's symbolism. I mean by it 
simply his use of symbols. 

What is a symbol? I use it in the sense of 
anything which stands for another thing, or for 
other things. In order to stand for another 
thing, or for other things, a word, or term, or 
sign must be, by established convention or by 
individual use, a part of the idea or ideas for 
which it is used as the representative; as, for 


example, the cross, for Christianity. A symbol 
may be, therefore, by its significance and con- 
ventional use, or may be made, by an artificial 
association, the representative of a score of 
things, by virtue of certain similar or identical 
characteristics. In this respect symbolism dif- 
fers from the parable, which, by its etymology, 
is quite the same word. In a parable there are 
generally but two terms to the comparison, as: 
" The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a certain 
man," etc. The parable of the ewe lamb is in 
point, because it shows the second step in sym- 
bolism. When the High Priest says to David: 
" Thou art the man," he has changed his simile 
into a metaphor, into a simple equation. Sym- 
bolism is, therefore, the use, or the abuse, if you 
will, of a metaphor, and may itself be illus- 
trated symbolically, as follows: If A is like B, 
and B is like C, and C is like D, then, by 
virtue of the element common to them all, 
A = B = C = D. That is Voltaire's symbol- 
ism reduced to its lowest terms. 


The sources of Voltaire's symbolism are to 
be found ultimately in the names he gives to 


things. Now, the names that one gives to things 
depend on the way one looks at things. It is 
obvious that the cross can not mean for Vol- 
taire what it meant for the Jansenists or the 
Jesuits, and that he can not look upon David 
with the eyes of the devout believer, as a man 
after God's own heart. What was the cross for 
him ? It was in the same category as the sacred 
cat among the Egyptians. How does he tell 
the tragic story of the infamous martyrdom of 
the Chevalier de La Barre ? A young man, who 
failed to salute the sacred cat borne by the 
hierophant in solemn procession, was killed a 
coups de barre de fer. What was King David 
for him? An infamous brigand who collected 
a band of four hundred debauchees and usurped 
the crown of a little kingdom of barbarians, 
whose little tribal God was a man after the 
King's own heart (M. 27, p. 232). 

At best words are but symbols ; their meaning 
and application are varying, subtile, elusive. 
But how much so when an author plays with 
them! It is obvious that an author can make 
use of words in their etymological significance, 
in their meaning by extension, and with any 
connotations that they may have for him. How 


can Voltaire make Jean Jacques Kousseau " un 
sauvage " ? First, because Rousseau loved to 
wander alone in the woods, and "sauvage" 
means, etymologically, "he who lives in the 
woods"; second, because he made himself the 
prophet of man in a state of nature. What is 
paradise for Voltaire? "Vivre eternellement 


dans les cieux avec 1'Etre supreme, ou aller se 
promener dans le jardin, dans le paradis, fut 
la meme chose pour les hommes, qui parlent 
toujours sans s'entendre, et qui n'ont pu guere 
avoir encore d'idees nettes ni d'expressions 
justes" (M. 21, p. 392). These are simple il- 
lustrations, but it is obvious from them that we 
can know nothing of an author's symbolism 
without knowing what meanings he gives to 
words, how he associates them, how he makes 
them equivalent, and by what name, sign, or 
symbol in short, he calls this equivalence. An 
author can make his symbolism as unintelli- 
gible to us as a work in a foreign tongue, with 
whose vocabulary and syntax we are unfamiliar. 
But then he would be defeating his own pur- 
pose, which is, of course, to be read and to in- 
fluence his readers. Therefore the author of a 
symbolic work generally indicates enough of 


his symbolism to half conceal, half reveal his 
meaning and his purpose. It sets one thinking, 
whets the curiosity, and finds everywhere appre- 
ciation, because each reader takes of it what 
appeals to him most. But this impressionistic, 
purely subjective interpretation is not the 
method of the serious literary student ; he must 
determine the plan of the whole work, as well as 
the reciprocal relation of all its parts. 


Why should Voltaire make use of symbolism, 
he, the great apostle of enlightenment? The 
reasons are both subjective and objective. 

The subjective reason is that he was an 18th 
century poet. The artificiality of this poetry is 
one of its most marked characteristics. No bet- 
ter indication of this can be found than Vol- 
taire's characterization of poetic imagery, in his 
letter to Frederick (M. 34, p. 359) : "Tine idee 
poetique c'est, comme le sait Votre Altesse 
royale, une image brillante substitute a Fidee 
naturelle de la chose dont on veut parler; par 
exemple, je dirai en prose : il y a dans le monde 
un jeune prince vertueux et plein de talents, qui 


deteste 1'envie et le fanatisme. Je dirai en 

" Minerve ! 6 divine Astree! 

Par vous sa jeunesse inspired 

Suivit les arts et les vertus; 

L'Envie au coeur faux, a 1'oeil louche, 

Et le fanatisme farouche, 

Sous ses pieds tombent abattus." 

One seems to hear the maitre de philosophic of the 
Bourgeois gentilhomme explaining to M. Jour- 
dain the difference between prose and poetry. 
The idea that nothing which was natural could 
be poetic seems strange to us, but it was not 
strange to Voltaire and his contemporaries. 
Everywhere we find this love of figures, of alle- 
gory, of brilliant imagery. It reminds one of the 
preciosity of the hotel de Kambouillet; and, by 
his education and training, although not by his 
active participation in the life of his century, 
Voltaire belongs to the Siecle de Louis XIV, 
which he so extolled. He tells us that one of the 
school exercises in his youth was the symbolic 
interpretation of pictures, such as that of an 
old man and a young girl (Essai sur les mceurs, 
Beuchot 15, p. 219) : " L'un disait, c'est Phiver 
et le printemps ; 1'autre, c'est la neige et le feu ; 


un autre, c'est la rose et Pepine, ou bien, c'est 
la force et la f aiblesse : et celui qui avait trouve 
le sens le plus eloigne du sujet, 1' application Ja 
plus extraordinaire, gagnait le prix." 

As early as 1722 (M. 33, p. 60), we find him 
writing to Jean Baptiste Rousseau, himself a 
notable writer of allegories in the style of Boi- 
leau, to explain the allegories in the Henriade: 
" Les fictions y sont toutes allegoriques ; nos pas- 
sions, nos vertus, nos vices, y sont personnifies." 
He defends their use by quoting from Boileau 
(M. 8, p. 40). He explains the angel of light 
that appeared to Jacques Clement (M. 8, p. 
366) : " N"e voyez-vous pas que cette apparition 
poetique ne figure autre chose que 1'imagination 
egaree d'un moine ? " His predilection for alle- 
gory in the novel has already been noted in the 
Introduction. He takes Racine fils to task for 
the omission of such figures in his poem on Re- 
ligion (M. 23, p. 173) : " Tantot je voudrais 
qu'il interrogeat la Sagesse eternelle, qui lui 
repondrait du haut des cieux; tantot que le 
Verbe lui-meme, descendu sur la terre, vint y 
confondre Mahomet, Confucius, Zoroastre." 
Even with such views, Voltaire was himself not 
always prolific enough in poetic figures to suit 


his critics. Just as the Envieux and his wife 
say to Zadig that " he has not the good Oriental 
style, because he does not make the hills dance 
like lambs and the stars descend from the heav- 
ens," so Desfontaines and the poet Roi, among 
others, took Voltaire to task for the lack of 
brilliant images in his poem on the Battle of 
Fontenoy. These lovers of allegorical figures 
called his poem une froide gazette. Voltaire 
replied to them as follows (M. 8, p. 379) : " On 
peut, deux mille ans apres la guerre de Troie, 
faire apporter par Venus a Enee des annes que 
Vulcain a forgees, et qui rendent ce heros invul- 
nerable; on peut lui faire rendre son epee par 
une divinite, pour la plonger dans le sein de son 
ennemi ; tout le conseil des dieux peut s'assem- 
bler, tout 1'enfer peut se dechainer; Alecton 
peut enivrer tous les esprits des venins de sa 
rage; mais ni notre siecle, ni un evenement si 
recent, ni un ouvrage si court, ne permettent 
guere ces peintures devenues les lieux communs 
de la poesie." 

Nevertheless this love of figures, of brilliant 
images substituted for natural ones, of allegory, 
of symbolism in short, pervades all Voltaire's 
work. One need only pick up any volume of his 


correspondence to convince oneself of this fact; 
his letters are replete with figures. It was only 
his good sound common-sense that kept him 
from abusing them "in the good Oriental style" 
mentioned above. 

Before proceeding further, we need to define 
allegory. The words means, at bottom, the same 
as symbolism ; it is "speaking of one thing 
under the image of another." But you cannot 
speak of one thing under the image of another 
without comparing them, or without having 
compared them. The only differences between 
allegory and symbolism are conventional, or 
they consist in the number of terms compared. 
" I am the vine and ye are the branches " is an 
allegory but the vine is here the symbol of 
Christ, and the branches are symbolic of his 
disciples. Allegory has come, however, to be 
associated chiefly, if not exclusively, with the 
personification of abstractions, as Peace, War, 
Strife, etc. But if one were describing the war- 
god, and brought under the symbol the Old 
Testament Lord of Hosts, leading in person his 
chosen people in battle and breaking the ranks 
of their enemies, together with the militant 
Machiavellian Prince, Frederick the Great, the 


imagery is symbolism. If we are to make a dis- 
tinction, then, it is this: allegory is the typic- 
ally abstract, symbolism is the typically con- 
crete. The one is out-of -nature, so to speak ; the 
other exists, or may be conceived of as existing, 
since it is typical without loss of individuality. 

The other reasons for Voltaire's use of sym- 
bolism are objective. 

In the first place, it furnished him with a 
relatively safe medium of carrying out his oft- 
reiterated definition of liberty : fari quae sentiat 
(M. 33, p. 381). This was no mean advantage 
in a country under the bondage of a literary in- 
quisition. Voltaire did not wish to spend his 
life in the Bastille, nor did he wish to languish 
in exile. Symbolism was his only recourse, un- 
less he were willing to give up the career of a 
man of letters. The latter alternative was not 
to be thought of, even if it had been possible for 
him to resist his dominant taste. At the time 
of the first persecution to which he was sub- 
jected, that for his verses about the Regent and 
his daughter, he was urged, he says (Lettres sur 
(Edipe, M. 2, p. 13), to give up verse-writing. 
To all such admonitions in prose and verse he 
replied, he tells us, " par des vers." Much later 


he inserted the following significant paragraph 
in his Lettres sur (Edipe: "Je me suis done 
apergu de bonne heure qu'on ne peut ni resister 
a son gout dominant ni vaincre sa destinee." 
He preferred his " slavery " in France, as he 
often calls his " malheureux metier d'homme de 
lettres," to liberty in foreign lands. " Pourquoi 
faut-il," he sighs at the time of the persecution 
for the English Letters, " pourquoi faut-il subir 
les rigueurs de 1'esclavage dans le plus aimable 
pays de 1'univers, que 1'on ne peut quitter, et 
dans lequel il est si dangereux de vivre ! " Now, 
by its very nature, one can hide beneath symbol- 
ism as under a shield and deal out blows in all 
directions; or at least in as many directions as 
there are ideas of which the symbol forms a 
part. For example, admitting that Pangloss is 
a symbol for all the spoken and written nonsense 
in Europe (for the word means " all tongues"), 
he can range successively or in curious mixtures 
the nonsense of as many individuals as he 
chooses under this symbol. And who shall con- 
vict him of satire ? Which of his enemies would 
for a moment proclaim to the world that he 
thought Voltaire was caricaturing him? He 
possessed in a remarkable degree the gift of 


seeing the ridiculous side of opinions, rather 
than of characters, and that is one of the well- 
recognized reasons why he did not succeed in 
comedy. It is also one of the best reasons for 
his success in symbolism. It is by virtue of 
certain conformities between the opinions, be- 
liefs, and dogmas of the Christian religion and 
those of certain Oriental religions that Voltaire 
can strike the bigots of France d'une main in- 
directe, as Frederick expresses it He says of 
i himself through one of his interlocutors (M. 27, 
p. 21) : "H semble que vous vouliez parler de 
Inos moines sous le nom de bonzes. Vous auriez 
rand tort; ne seriex-vous pas un peu malin?" 
(That is putting it weakly; he was the most 
Un of all men. Everything that he wrote 
ras looked upon with suspicion by his enemies, 
mse of the subtile and insinuating power of 
mggestion oozing out of a thousand pores. 
Iverybody knew in his day, and certainly 
^verybody knows now, that he had the Christian 
jligion, more than Mohammedanism, in mind, 
rhen he composed Mahomet. But what choice 
lid the pope have, other than to accept his 
Dedication of the tragedy? If he had refused 
p, Voltaire would have cried: "What! You 


defend that fanatical religion and its infamous 
prophet ? Or do you acknowledge that there is 
no difference between that religion and its 
prophet on the one hand, and Christianity and 
its founder on the other?" How plainly he 
discloses his purpose in Mahomet, when he tells 
us (M. 17, p. 103), that Mohammed was more 
of a Jansenist than anything else. Therefore, 
if Mohammed was a Jansenist, the God of 
Mohammed was the God of the Jansenists. And 
what was the God of the Jansenists ? Voltaire 
tells us in his Discours en vers sur I'homme (M. 
9, p. 388) what kind of God the partisans of 
absolute fatality worshipped: 

" Les tristes partisans de ce dogme effroyable 
Diraient-ils rien de plus s'ils adoraient le diable ? " 

One can easily see how far such association of 
ideas can lead, when the author of Zadig can , 
mark here in a couplet the equivalence of God 
and the devil. 

Voltaire's enemies were not deceived by his I 
methods, but they had no proof against him.l 
He often defied his enemies to find a single rep-j 
rehensible proposition in his works. He couldj 
make his challenge with impunity. He wasj 


past master in the choice and use of words. He 
does not deny the fall of man and the necessity 
of redemption; he simply says that human 
reason can not prove it. " What have I done," 
he exclaims, when the dogs of persecution bark 
at his heels, "what have I done, except to put 
revelation above reason ? " He can not ridicule 
openly the innocence of our first parents, but 
he can ridicule its allegorical meaning under the 
Androgynes of Plato, under the symbolism of 
Corisandre, Hermaphrodix, Conculix. He 
does not deny the existence of the soul inde- 
pendent of the body; he does not say that God 
has given the faculty of thought to matter in 
certain organizations; he simply says that hu- 
man reason cannot prove that God could not 
have done so. "What have I done," he cries 
again when persecuted, "except to give public 
confession of my belief in God's omnipotence ? " 
And in the Princesse de Babylone he symbolizes 
his conception under the form of the phoenix, 
and explains what resurrection is (M. 21, p. 

Another reason, and not the least important, 
for Voltaire's use of symbolism, is its preval- 
ence in Oriental literatures, especiallv in tho 


Bible and in the thousand interpretations of 
the dogmas of the Christian religion. Every- 
thing in antiquity is allegorical, is symbolical, 
he cries ; it would seem that all antiquity spoke 
only in order not to be understood. He includes 
Grecian mythology in the same class; indeed, 
he makes the dreamings of Plato the very foun- 
dation of the Christian religion. How was Vol- 
taire to explain the double nature in man, the 
two natures and the one will of Christ, the 
Androgynes of Plato, except by the sodomy of 
monasticism, "man by day and woman by 
night?" How could Jesus be the son of his 
mother and his own father, except by incest, 
like that of (Edipus King ? How could Saturn 
devour his own children, except as a symbol for 
Time ? How could Rome be Babylon, except by 
symbolism? How could Peter be a porter, a 
fisherman, a rock, and the vicar of Christ, him- 
self the vicar of God, except by symbolism? 
How can all nations be blessed in the seed of 
Abraham, from whom they do not descend? 
How can the devil be a serpent? How can 
Balaam's ass talk? What is the origin of all 
metamorphoses, except the abuse of a metaphor ? 
might be multiplied ad in- 


Voltaire's method of composition has already 
been indicated: it is the raising of individual 
experiences into the realm of the typical, with 
an anti-religious tendency. When he fights an 
individual persecutor, he fights him, not as his 
individual enemy, but as the enemy of man- 
kind; he becomes for Voltaire the symbol of 
persecution, but without losing his individual- 
ity. He may appear as a symbol for the devil, 
for the God of the Jansenists, for the inquisi- 
tion of Rome, or the inquisition of the garde 
des sceaux, as the personification of the fero- 
cious rapacity of the clergy ; in short, in as many 
forms as Voltaire's imagination can create. 
Fundamentally Voltaire has but two sets of / 
symbols: tolerance and intolerance: love and 
hate: wisdom and folly: generosity and envy: 
reason and religion: sense and nonsense; there 
is a sort of duality in his symbolism, like the 
duality of nature. He repeats over and over 
the allegory of the garden of Eden. He repre- 
sents himself, under the name of his chief char- 
acter, in a variety of paradisiacal situations, out 
of which he is kicked by some ambitious, envi- 
ous, rapacious, or tyrannical brigand. This 


brigand is always Intolerance, under some form 
or other, always the Infdme, in some way or 
other ; and always, at the bottom of each episode, 
incident and character, there is some particular 
brigand whom the author has in mind especially. 
The general plan of both Zadig and Candide is 
this: Voltaire wants his definition of liberty: 
fari quae seniiat. That is his Astarte, his 
Cunegonde. Whoever interferes with that, the 
finest privilege of humanity, is ipso facto ranged 
under the symbol of the Infdme, without ceas- 
ing, however, as I have already said, to be an 
individual persecutor in a given situation. The 
only way to fathom Voltaire's symbolism is, 
therefore, to keep the type in mind and to trace 
the association of ideas by which certain indi- 
viduals, with whom he has come into close per- 
sonal relations, are subsumed under the type. 



THE purpose of this chapter is to determine 
the provenience of the name of the hero and its 
significance, by citing Voltaire's probable au- 
thorities and by internal evidence from the 


Hammer, apropos of the mystic love-story of 
Joseph and Zuleika, explains the name Zadig 
as the " Speaker of the truth," from the epithet 
given to Joseph when he had cleared himself of 
the accusation of Potiphar's wife. Joseph 
called upon a child in the cradle to testify for 
him. The child, which had never spoken be- 
fore, told Potiphar to see whether Joseph's coat 
was ripped in front or in back. The coat was 
found to be ripped from behind, and this fact 
was considered conclusive evidence of the truth 


of Joseph's story. Hence, in the manner of the 
Orient, of which numerous examples will oc- 
cur to any reader of the Old Testament, Joseph 
received a new name: He-who-renders-true- 
witness, the Speaker-of-the-truth, or the Truth- 
teller, as Remy, following Hammer, translates 
it. But neither Remy nor Hammer assigned 
any reasons for thinking that Voltaire's hero 
was named in reminiscence of this episode. 

I consider it of great importance to determine 
whether this interpretation is correct; for, if it 
is, it is bound to have influenced Voltaire in the 
whole conduct of his novel. 

In the first place, was Voltaire acquainted 
with this episode? This question must be an- 
swered in the affirmative. We may take it for 
granted that he knew practically everything 
that had any connection with the Bible; that 
was his specialty. The story of Joseph and 
Zuleika, as treated by the Persian poets, is 
found, in considerable detail, in the Goran, and 
we know that Voltaire was well acquainted with 
the Mohammedan Bible. He would not have 
undertaken his tragedy of Mahomet without in- 
vestigating his prophet's Bible. This study 
goes back as far as the period preceding his 


trip to England. While at Riviere-Bourdet 
Voltaire, Thieriot, and Mme. de Bernieres gave 
themselves up to historical dilettantism. Thie- 
riot undertook the compilation of a history of 
Mohammed. While in England Voltaire was 
asked by his friend to procure him certain 
books bearing on the subject. The hunt for one 
of them, which proved to be worthless (entitled 
Improvement of the Human Reason; M. 33, p. 
167), gave to Voltaire an opportunity of show- 
ing how anglicized he had become. His letters 
to Thieriot are in English, and he speaks of 
that " damned book." 

It was during his stay in England that he 
became acquainted with the translation of the 
Goran by Sale; the translation which he ever 
afterward used, and which he frequently praises. 
He showed to some visitors at Ferney, long after- 
wards, this translation of the Goran, annotated 
marginally and with numerous slips of paper 
all through it for markings (M. 1, pp. 390-392 : 
Documents biographiques) . As early as 1734 he 
praised Sale's translation of the Goran (M. 27, 
p. 318). Therefore there is no reason for Seele, 
in his Sources of Zadig, to be uncertain whether 
Voltaire was acquainted with the whole Goran. 


Voltaire could also have got, and probably did 
get, knowledge of the episode of Joseph and 
Zuleika from Herbelot. We know that he bor- 
rowed the Bibliotheque orientate from d'Argen- 
son (M. 36, p. 182), and that he kept it during 
the period when we may suppose that he was 
writing, or gathering material for, his Siecle 
de Louis XIV, his Essai sur les mceurs, his 
tragedy Semiramis, and his novel Zadig. 

In the second place, what reasons are there 
for thinking that Voltaire had this epithet in 
mind, when he named his hero Zadig ? 

There are several reasons which might be 
adduced in support of this interpretation of the 
name: first, it would seem to be apt for Vol- 
taire's symbolism; second, there are evidences 
of it in the character of some of the episodes; 
third, the Providence which the story of Joseph 
illustrates seems to be the Providence of the 
novel. Let us consider these points in their 



Without giving Voltaire credit for a very 
profound knowledge of Oriental literatures, we 


must acknowledge that he grasped quickly the 
fundamental spirit of those literatures. " Every- 
thing is figurative," he says repeatedly, " every- 
thing is allegorical in the East." It would 
seem that these people spoke only in order not 
to be understood. This character of Oriental 
thought was to him the secret of the abuse of the 
Bible in later centuries: the figure was taken 
for the letter, and the letter for the figure, to 
suit the ambitious schemes of a few leaders of 
the new sect of Christianity. The Jews called 
a just man the son of God (M. 27, p. 90) ; in 
that sense Jesus was the son of God. But how 
that figure of speech has been perverted and 
made the instrument of the " most cowardly and 
most detestable of all superstitions"! We can 
see, then, how such an epithet as the "Truth- 
teller " in a novel of the Orient would appeal to 
Voltaire. He aimed to be the " Truth-teller " 
par excellence. He was the ministre de la 
verite, as Frederick called him. He appeals to 
Venus Urania, verite sublime, as he apostro- 
phizes the goddess. All the persecutions to 
which he was subjected came from his message 
of truth, as he saw it. And yet he rarely spoke 
his message of truth except in symbolic words 


and figures. He could not do otherwise. To 
tell his message of truth about the Bible in the 
plain straightforward French prose, which he 
could handle with such conciseness and clear- 
ness, would be paving the way to a funeral 
pyre ; to tell it in the manner of the Orient, in 
figures, in allegories, in allusions, in innuendos, 
in equivocal phraseology : what was that but the 
manner that Voltaire assumed in nearly all his 
publications, before his residence at the gates of 
Geneva? He had learned early in the school 
of experience to fight from covert, to bide his 
time, to strike swiftly and escape, to act the 
blind man and the deaf man on occasion. 


There are episodes in the novel that point to 
the meaning of Zadig as the " Truth-teller." 
At bottom, the episode of Joseph and Zuleika 
illustrates a Solomonic judgment. Joseph's in- 
nocence is established by a clever device. Sim- 
ilar devices are met with in the novel, such as 
the broken tablet, the love of two brothers for 
their father, the love of two Magians for a 
young girl, the debt, etc. The episode of the 


Chien and the Cheval is also a case in point, 
and needs to be considered in detail. 


This episode illustrates, among other things, 
the Oriental manner of telling the truth and the 
dangers attending it. The common proverb in 
the Orient, according to Herbelot (Vol. I, p. 
581), used as an excuse by the people who are 
afraid of getting into trouble for knowing and 
for saying too much, is : Je n'ai vu ni le chameau 
ni le chamelier; ou bien, je nai vu ni le chameau 
ni son petit. The story which gave rise to this 
proverb must be considered the immediate 
source of Voltaire's episode. In his studies in 
the sciences, in history, in philosophy, Voltaire 
was afraid of saying too much. The premature 
publication of his materials for the Siecle de 
Louis XIV aroused persecutions because of the 
author's remarks about the court of Kome (M. 
35, p. 361). His Lettres philosophiques, espe- 
cially his remarks about Pascal and Locke, 
caused him to be excommunicated and burned, 
as he calls the decree of the Parliament against 
his publication. He was afraid of saying too 
much in his competitive essay for the prize 


offered by the Academy of Sciences, because the 
philosophy of Descartes still ruled at Paris. 
Mirepoix especially persecuted Voltaire for say- 
ing, with Locke, that God could have given to 
organized matter the faculty of thought, just as 
matter is organized to have sensations. Vol- 
taire's aim was to account naturally for the 
fabulous being called the soul, just as he would 
account naturally for the fabulous being called 
the devil. These are two phases of one and the 
same question. The Christian religion posits 
the fall of man, into whose body the devil en- 
tered, as an allegory of the evil in the world and 
an explanation of the astonishing contradictions 
in man. Voltaire replied, in his remarks on 
Pascal, that one might just as well say that the 
dog that caresses and bites has a double nature, 
or that all horses were once in paradise until 
one of them ate some oats and caused the whole 
species to be condemned to a life of suffering. 

j Thus Voltaire is persecuted, like Zadig, even 

\ by beings which do not exist. 

Thia episode of the griffon is similar to the 
one which we are considering. Everybody is 
speaking about the griffon, although nobody 
knows anything about it, not even whether it 


exists. Voltaire frequently refers to the Mosaic 
law prohibiting the eating of the griffon, the 
ixion (M. 25, p. 65 ; M. 18, p. 124, etc.). These 
animals must have disappeared from the face 
of the earth, if they ever existed. Voltaire else- 
where (M. 9, p. 427) uses the name griffon as 
celui qui griffonne, and Cador uses it here in 
the sense of celui qui a des griffes. Zadig has, 
he says, many griffons in his poultry yard, and 
does not eat them. He refers to the cock, as is 
evident from Voltaire's use of the word in his 
reply to the criticism of the Abbe Foucher (M. 
27, p. 435) : Ne tuons jamais le coq, etc. It is 
simply one of Voltaire's numerous illustrations 
of the persecutions to which one is subjected in 
the name of beings which nobody understands, 
and the very existence of which can not be 

The episode of the Dog and the Horse is, like 
that of the griffon, an outgrowth of Voltaire's 
English Letters. :Mirepoix had persecuted him 
for saying that our faculties developed like 
those of the other animals, by use, by experi- 
ence. Voltaire's argument tended to insinuate 
that if man had an immortal soul, then a dog 
had one also, or a flea, if you will. There is 


something divine about a flea, he says; it can 
jump fifty times its length. Thus this episode 
is, first of all, an allegory of the way we see: 
how we judge form, size, distance. Voltaire 
was the first to report in France the theories of 
light of Newton and the experiments of Chesel- 
don (M. 18, p. 402 ff.). The latter proved, by 
operating on a youth for cataract that the image 
formed on the retina by an object did not enable 
us, by itself, to see that object as it was. 
Reaumur, who seems to be ridiculed by Voltaire 
in the introductory paragraphs of this episode, 
performed a similar experiment in France, but 
the fruits of it were lost to science because the 
operator made no experiments and allowed no 
one else to make them. 

There are probably other allusions in the epi- 
sode, a few of which may be indicated here. 

In speaking of his studies for the Siecle de 
Louis XIV (M. 33, p. 513), Voltaire says that 
he is like a painter who looks at objects a little 
differently from other men, noticing lights and 
shades which escape inexperienced eyes. That 
is precisely the faculty that Zadig has acquired. 
Voltaire arrived at the knowledge of the Man 
with the Iron Mask during this period. The 


daughter of the Regent had secured from her 
father, by what a price ! the secret, or what pur- 
ported to be the secret. Voltaire had, it would 
seem, been persecuted by the Regent for " what 
he had seen," namely, the incest and debauchery 
of the Regent. In view of the name of the 
King, Moabdar, reminiscent of the mere des 
Moabites of Voltaire's early satires, it is prob- 
able that the episode of the Dog and the Horse * 
is symbolical of the Regent and his daughter. 
The episode of the escaped prisoner would then 
be explainable as a reference to the Man with 
the Iron Mask. 

Another allusion in the episode is Voltaire's 
characterization of the old due de Mirepoix as a 
cheval. His accoutrements are also as precious 
as those of the cheval du roi des rois; he was in 
every sense un opulent fripon, and in every 
sense a cheval of the King. Voltaire arrived at 
his name by the following equations: Chiron = 
Preceptor of Achilles; Achilles = King ; Mire- 
poix = Preceptor of King; Mirepoix = Chiron. 
But Chiron was a horse with the head of a man, 
while Mirepoix had no head; therefore Mire- 
poix = cheval (cf. M. 36, p. 275). 

Voltaire refers in the same way to the poet 


Roi, who was chevalier de I'ordre de saint 
Michel, i. e., cheval. de saint Michel, i. e., 
cheval, not roi, but at most the cheval du rot. 1 

1 There is much in the correspondence of Voltaire at 
this time about a chien and a chiennc. Mile. Quinault 
had given to Voltaire the subject of the Enfant prodigue, 
which he composed, he tells us, to serve as a reply to the 
impertinent Epitres of Jean Baptiste Eousseau. It is, 
therefore, by a figure common to Voltaire, the child of 
the poet and the actress (M. 34, p. 54, 55, 183, 184). 
Great precautions are taken that there be no clique to 
prevent its success. Voltaire does not wish it to be known 
that he is the author; he has his reasons, he says, but 
he fails to disclose them. Voltaire refers to his comedy 
as his petit chien noir (M. 34, p. 142). He writes to 
Mile. Quinault (M. 34, p. 558>) that his petits chiens noirs 
are called Zamore and Alzire (the names of the hero and 
the heroine of his tragedy of Aleire, and evidently re- 
garded as the offspring of the original chien, the Enfant 
prodigue). He carries out the figure (M. 35, p. 48): 
Zamore et Aleire vous saluent a quatre pattes. In his 
letter of October 19, 1736 (M. 34, p. 150 f.), he calls his 
two black dogs chien and chienne, brother and sister, who 
are to go on producing from incest to incest. Other refer- 
ences are (M. 35, p. 176) : "Alzire est grosse de Zamore. 
Voulez-vous que le premier-n6 s'appelle Kamiref" And 
(M. 35, p. 227) : "J'aurai 1'honneur de vous envoyer un 
Eamire et vous nous donnerez la merveille des chiens que 
vous promettez. " He feels that Zulime must be made 
better pour depayser le monde. He says (M. 35, p. 456) : 
"Nous avons dfija nomm6 les deux enfants de vos chiens 
noirs, 1 'un Eamire, et 1 'autre Zulime. Mais j 'ai peur 
que cela ne ressemble aux gentilshommes mine's de ce 
payg-ci (i. e., Brussels), qui se font appeler Votre Altesse; 



The other episodes which illustrate Solomonic 
judgments come under the relations of Zadig to 
Moabdar's court or to the Arabian tribes of 
Setoc. The first one of this nature is the decis- 
ion of the question, to whom the prize of virtue 
belongs. Voltaire had already indicated in his 
Discours en vers sur I'homme (M. 9, p. 388 f., 
p. 423), who was entitled to be called virtuous. 
That title belonged to Pucelle, who gave to his 
younger brother the fortune that his mother had 

il faut que 1'on ait fait une grande fortune pour donner 
ainsi son nom. " 

It is not easy to determine just what Voltaire meant 
by this sort of figure. As offspring of Voltaire's genius, 
his works were brother and sister, and if they kept on 
producing from incest to incest, the thought is analogous 
to the charge made by Rousseau against Voltaire (Epitre 
d Thalie, CEuvres de Jean Baptiste Sousseau, Nouvelle 
Edition, Bruxelles, 1743, Vol. 3, p. 467) : 

' ' Loin tout rimeur enfl6 de beaux passages 
Qui sur lui seul moulant ses personnages 
Veut qu 'ils aient tous autant d 'esprit que lui, 
Et ne nous peint que soi-muinc en autrui. " 

It is certain that there is some connection between Bous- 
seau and the chien or chienne of Voltaire's correspon- 
dence and the episode in Zadig; that is already obvious 
from the purpose Voltaire had in composing the Enfant 
prodigue. It is probable that Mile. Quinault immediately 


deprived him of. This episode is found in 
Zadig, with slight modifications and with an 
obvious application to religion. It is a question 
of the love of two sons for their father. Zadig 
gives the prize to the one who has aided his sis- 
ter. Voltaire wished to decide the question 
| over which the Jansenists and the Molinists 
wrangled, as to who loved God best. His de- 
cision establishes the superiority of good works 
over vain monuments, as an indication of one's 
love for the author of one's being. t A similar 
question is decided by him in reference to the 

recognized Voltaire as the author of Zadig by means of 
this episode, for he alludes to the "black dog" only in 
his letters to her. Voltaire wrote to d'Argental (M. 36, 
p. 534; Oct. 10, 174&), that he did not wish to pass 
for the author of Zadig; why should people mention his 
name in that connection f "Quinault, Quinault-comique 
. . . ne cesse de dire que j 'en suis 1 'auteur. Comme elle 
n'y voit rien ne mal, elle le dit sans croire me nuire; 
mais les coquins, qui veulent y voir du mal, en abusent." 
If Mile. Quinault saw no harm in the episode, she must 
have referred it to Voltaire's Enfant prodigue. When 
this comedy appeared in published form, it was so muti- 
lated by the publishers that Voltaire, by a figure common 
to him, says that it is lame, so lame that it can hardly 
walk (M. 34, p. 525, p. 531). In that respect it is like 
the chienne de la reine. As it has given birth to a numer- 
ous progeny it can also be compared to the chienne de la 
reine, qui a fait depuis peu des chiens. 


two Magians who claim a woman whom they 
have instructed in their mystic love ; she belongs 
to the one who will bring up her child in the 
duties of friendship and citizenship. 

Voltaire had given the title of virtuous to 
Pelisson, who defended Fouquet from the 
depths of his prison. This appears also in ' 
Zadig. The King had disgraced his prime min- 
ister, and Zadig alone speaks well of him. 

Voltaire gives the title of virtuous to ETor- 
mand, to Cochin, whose eloquence protected the 
orphan. He does not give it to the indolent 
Germont, who fears to speak for his friend when 
Sejanus oppresses (reference to Thieriot, whose 
luke-warmness in the period of the Voltairo- 
manie Voltaire could hardly forgive) ; nor to 
the babbling Griffon, whose mercenary pen 
made an insipid libel instead of a jurist's brief 
(reference to Mannory, at the time of Voltaire's 
demeles with the poet Roi and Desfontaines). 
" Zadig proves, just as Voltaire proved in 
all his works, the puerility of religious dis- 
putes and the folly of attaching importance 
to religious ceremonies. Two parties had v 
quarreled for 1500 years about the manner 
of entering the temple of Mithra. Voltaire 


shows by the date here that he has Christianity 
in mind. He says (M. 2T, p. 38), that Chris- 
tianity is the only religion in the world in 
which, for more than 1400 years, there has been 
an almost continuous series of persecutions on 
account of theological arguments'. 

There is probably a reference here to Vol- 
taire's manner of entering the French Academy. 
One of the virulent satires current at this time 
was the Discours prononce a la porte de I' Aca- 
demic, in which Voltaire was scurrilously treated. 
Voltaire had failed in several attempts to enter 
the Temple of the Sun, and he desired to enter 
now par la grande porte. In other words, he 
wanted to enter the French Academy like Zadig : 
a pieds joints. 

The other illustrations of the wisdom of Solo- 
mon are chiefly under the various episodes con- 
nected with Setoc. Because Zadig has slain a 
jealous fool, Cletofis, he is sold into slavery. 
This is allegorical for the servitude of a man 
of letters in France, of which Voltaire com- 
plains so often in his correspondence. The only 
way to break his chains is gradually to enlighten 
his master, who was ignorant rather than 
wicked. Zadig begins his work almost at once. 


His master has paid less for him. than for his 
valet. When Setoc is obliged to apportion the 
burdens of a camel upon the backs of his slaves, 
he laughs to see them walk with body bent for- 
ward. Zadig informs him of the reason. He 
tells him about the simplest physical laws, such 
as the law of equilibrium, of specific gravity. 
The allusion is, of course, to Voltaire's Ele- 
ments de la philosophie de Newton, with the 
famous law of gravitation which the French 
were so slow in accepting. It is Voltaire in the 
bondage of the garde des sceaux, the famous 
d'Aguesseau, who refused his approbation for 
the Elements, and who refused to give permis- 
sion to print to the author of a novel in which 
there was a heretic, unless said heretic should 
be converted in the last chapter! It is quite 
possible that Voltaire is punning on his name 
(seau = sot) and on his function (garde des 
sceaux = garde des sots), in the name Setoc. 
Voltaire often laments that the simplest laws of - 
science were unknown to his countrymen until 
the publication of his work. The following is 
a typical example (M. 27, p. 188) : " II y a cent 
mille ames dans Paris qui, en soufflant le feu 
de leurs cheminees, n'ont jamais seulement 


pense a la mecanique par laquelle Pair entrant 
dans leur soufflet, ferme ensuite la soupape qui 
lui est attachee. . . . Le nombre est tres petit 
de ceux qui cherchent a s'instruire des ressorts 
de leur corps et de leur pensee. De la vient 
qu'ils mettent souvent 1'un et 1'autre entre les 
mains des charlatans." This is true of the 
Seigneur Ogul, whose slaves seek a basilisk 
which they intend to cook in rose water in order 
to cure him of an indigestion. The Seigneur 
Ogul has promised to marry the slave who shall 
first find him a basilisk. "Son medecin, qui 
n'a que peu de credit aupres de lui quand il 
digere bien, le gouverne despotiquement quand 
il a trop mange" (M. 21, p. 81). The allusion 
is probably to the King, whose illness at Metz 
caused so much excitement in court circles. The 
doctor-confessor of the King prevailed upon him 
to dismiss his mistress, Mme. de Chateauroux, 
in order to appease the wrath of heaven and thus 
be cured of his ailment. The name Ogul is 
probably an anagramme for Gulo (since the 
Seigneur Ogul is a glutton), with a reminis- 
cence of Mogul. Thus everything, even to the 
basilisk (the "little king" curer), points to the 
Seigneur Louis XV. Zadig teaches this ignor* 


ant gourmand the virtues of the medicine bag, 
i. e., the value of exercise and sobriety, as the 
only king-curers. Voltaire had already treated 
this topic in his English Letters (M. 22, p. 50). 
He explains how the idea of miraculous cures 
arose. Sickness was observed to increase at the 
full moon ; therefore the moon was the cause of 
it. A sick man, who found himself better after 
having eaten lobsters, gave rise to the belief 
that they purified the blood because they were 
red when boiled ! 

One of the first things that Zadig teaches 
S6toc is how to recover a debt from a Hebrew, 
without having any proof of the indebtedness. 
The money had been counted out to the Hebrew 
on a large stone, and Zadig makes the stone tes- 
tify for him. Since the Hebrew knows where 
the stone is, the money must have been paid to 
him. He is condemned to be bound to the stone, 
without food or drink, until the money is paid. 
The Hebrew soon disgorges, and Zadig and the 
stone enjoy great renown in the desert. The 
Hebrew who receives loans on the stone and who 
appropriates everything he can as soon as there 
are no witnesses to the transaction is the Church, 
from the time of Pope Gregory down. Voltaire 


was the first to raise his voice, he tells us (M. 
18, p. 441), against the pretensions of the 
clergy. The way to make them disgorge is to 
bind them to the stone ; if the stone, Peter, is in 
the desert, they will pay rather than be bound 
to it ; if it is in heaven, they will pay with even 
greater celerity rather than be sent thither. 
Pope Gregory's canonization in the eighteenth 
century was fresh in Voltaire's mind at this 
time, when he was composing the Essai sur les 
mceurs (cf. Beuchot, 16, p. 89). The Pope, he 
notes (ibid., p. 84), had sent the following mes- 
sage to Eudolph, Duke of Suabia: Petra dedit, 
Petrus diadema RodolpJio. 

It is probable that there is some experience of 
Voltaire at the bottom of the episode. The 
Marquis de Luchet relates that Voltaire had lent 
some money to a man who refused to pay him 
because the poet had neglected to take the pre- 
caution of having witnesses to the transaction, 
and had nothing in writing to prove his claim. 
Many people are sueing him, he says (M. 34, p. 
88), for debts long since paid, in the hope that 
he has lost his receipts in his numerous voyages. 
That is especially true of Jore, the libraire du 
clerge, publisher of the Lettres philosophiques 


who tried to make Voltaire pay what he would 
have gained if the edition had not been seized. 
He was thrown into the Bastille until he should 
give up the edition. It is possible that the Bas- 
tille is the famous stone to which the bad credi- 
tor was to be bound until he disgorged. 

Setoc adores the stars because they are so 
brilliant and so far away. ^Zadig lights a num- 
ber of candles and adores them in the presence 
of his master. Setoc penetrates the significance 
of the action of his slave and adores, from then 
on, the maker of the stars. Voltaire is alluding 
to the idolatrous practices of the Christians in 
the adoration of images, etc., as shown in the 
Dictionnaire philosophique (M. 17, p. 61, 
under Adorer) : " Dans d'autres pays, il faut a 
midi allumer des flambeaux de cire, qu'on 
avait en abomination dans les premiers temps," 
and a convent, in which this cult of candles 
should be abolished would cry out that the light 
of the faith was extinguished and that the world 
was coming to an end. 

Zadig also puts an end to the burning of 
widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands, 
an abuse which exists simply because it is 


Ancient. Voltaire makes the necessary rap- 
prochement between the devotes of Malabar and 
the devotes of France (M. 24, p. 247, also Precis 
du Siede de Louis XV, M. 15, p. 327, and Bs- 
sai sur les Moeurs, Beuchot, 15, p. 79), which 
explains this episode. The former destroy 
their bodies, the latter give up legitimate pleas- 
ures and subject themselves to needless priva- 
tions, and both act contrary to the purpose of 
nature; both are dominated by the vain idea 
that these bodies of theirs will arise more beau- 
tiful than before. Let us consider this episode 
in its relation to Voltaire's literary activity in 


This episode is directed first of all against the 
Jansenists, who would destroy all passions in 
man, except that of religious fanaticism. Every 
natural impulse towards the enjoyment of the 
senses was for the Jansenites a mortal sin (cf. 
M. 21, p. 275). In the second place, this same 
tendency was manifested in the monastic sys- 
tem, by which men and women dissociated 
themselves from the activities for which they 
were created, and buried themselves alive, so to 
speak. Voltaire had no patience with such/ 


abuses. He continually raises his voice against 
them. Ever since his return from England he 
had directed his attacks against the Jansenists: 
in his English letters, in the Mondain, in the 
Discours en vers sur I'homme. In his fifth Dis- 
cours (Sur la nature du plaisir), he uses a fig- 
ure quite similar to the destruction by fire in 
the episode of Almona. He admires, he says, 
and does not pity, a heart that chains its de- 
sires, " et s'arrache au genre humain pour Dieu 
qui nous fit naitre . . . et brulant pour son 
Dieu d'un amour devorant, fuit les plaisirs 
permis pour un plaisir plus grand." But he 
does protest against the intolerance of such 
people. Let them burn themselves if they wish, 
but not make other people burn themselves, nor 
despise in their hearts those whom they leave 
behind. Such people are less the friends of 
God than the enemies of mankind. This ridicu- 
lous master of the new stoics (i. e., Pascal), 
wishes to destroy one's being, deprive one of 
one's nature. Voltaire reminds him and his 
followers of the daughters of Pelias, who, think- 
ing to rejuvenate^ him, cut him up and boiled 
him, but could not bring him to life again. 
That is symbolic of the Jansenists, the poet 


cries; they wish to change man, and they de- 
stroy him. 

Thus Almona represents the victim of this 
false conception of the Jansenists, who drew it, 
as all Christians have drawn it, from the prom- 
ises of Christ, that whoever should lose his life 
shall find it, and whoever would__sye_hi5 life 
shall lose it. It was this^jFalse conception of 
self-renunciation which sent so many (Jnristians 
rejoicing to the funeral pyres of martyrdom and 
which filled the monasteries and the convents. 

Voltaire wished to belittle their motives, and, 
in general, he undoubtedly was not far wrong. 
They wished to attract attention to themselves, 
to show that they were better than other people. 
They wished to enjoy the consideration which 
attends the odor of sanctity. Mme. Dorfise, the 
Prude, in Voltaire's comedy of that name, acts 
from such motives. The same is true of Baba- 
bec and the fakirs (M. 21, p. 103) : "Bababec 
perdait son credit dans le peuple ; les femmes ne 
venaient plus le consulter: il quitta Omri, et 
reprit ses clous pour avoir de la consideration." 
The reason why the women of Malabar burn 
themselves is that it is the custom, and one 
would lose caste in not conforming to it (M. 18, 


p. 96; article on Suicide, published in 1739), 
just as it the custom in Japan for a man who 
has heen insulted to open his own vitals, and 
his opponent must do likewise or be forever 
dishonored. The Christian renegade Pelle- 
grinus burned himself in public for the same 
reason that a fool among us sometimes dresses 
up as an Armenian, in order to attract attention 
to himself (M. 18, p. 37). But that is nothing, 
Voltaire adds, in comparison with the 100,000 
Europeans who have been burned by the Inqui- 
sition for the greater glory of God and the sal- 
vation of their immortal souls, and all for dog- 
mas which nobody understands. 
yZadig convinces Setoc that it is ruinous to the 
state for widows to burn themselves ; they might 
better give useful citizens to it. This reason is 
one of the most frequent in Voltaire's works. 
The following is a typical reference (M. 23, p. 
504) : " Dans nos climats il nait plus de males 
que de femelles, done il ne f aut pas f aire mourir 
les femelles: or il est clair que c'est les faire 
mourir pour la societe que de les enterrer dans 
nos cloitres, ou elles sont perdues pour la race 
presente, et ou elles aneantissent les races fu- 
tures." Note the equivocal use of faire mourir 


and enterrer Us filles. The latter figure sug- 
gests to Voltaire the comparison of nuns to des 
terres incultes; il faut cultiver Us unes et Us 
autres is his advice (Dialogue entre un philo- 
sophe et un controleur general des finances, M. 
23, p. 504). 

The particular allusion in this episode of 
Almona is probably to Voltaire's Epitre to the 
Marquise de Eupelmonde, the widow with whom 
he traveled to Holland in 1722 (M. 9, p. 357 
if.). Of her Duvernet says: "Elle joignait a 
une ame pleine de candeur et un penchant ex- 
treme pour la tendresse une grande incertitude 
sur ce qu'elle devait croire." She confided her 
doubts to Voltaire. To save her from the fate 
of the devotes of Malabar and the devotes of 
France, he composed the Epitre, successively 
known as the Epitre a Julie, Epitre a TJranie, 
and Le Pour et Le Contre. The Kehl editors 
speak of it as follows (M. 9, p. 357) : This work 
contains the principal reproaches against the 
Christian religion and a refutation of the argu- 
ments of the devots persuades et Us devots po- 

The gist of the Epitre is this: there are no 
horrors beyond the grave for the just; God 


d0es not demand the sacrifice of our being, but 
the use of our talents. All homage is received 
by God, but he demands none, and none honors 
him. The pitiless Jansenist will find less clem- 
ency at his throne, despite his sacrifices, than 
the just man. 

There was the menace of great danger in the 
publication of this JEpitre in 1732. Langlois, 
the secretary of the Chancellor d'Aguesseau, 
when asked his opinion of it, told his master 
that Voltaire ought to be put where he would 
never again have the opportunity to use pen and 
ink. M. de Vintimille, Archbishop of Paris, 
and famous for his gourmandise, complained 
strongly to H. Herault, lieutenant general de 
police. Voltaire fit le mort, as one editor ex- 
presses it ; he took no notice of the lenten refu- 
tations of his work. He denied to the Chancel- 
lor that he was the author of it; he had heard 
it recited, he said, by the Abbe de Chaulieu. 
The authorities were not deceived, but they had 
no case against him. / 

In Zadig Voltaire seems to have connected this 
episode with all his other publications against the 
Jansenists, especially his Lettres philosophiques. 
The friends of Pascal were revolted that Voltaire 


should make fun of their master's ideas about re- 
ligion and about poetry. Voltaire frequently 
laughs at Pascal's examples of poetic beauty : ~bel 
asire, merveille de nos jours, fatal laurier, etc. 
That expression of bel astre, and Voltaire's re- 
marks about Newton's law of gravitation, which 
Voltaire called attraction, and which the ignorant 
people of France took for the occult ideas of 
antiquity, are the sources of the form in which 
the accusation against Zadig is cast. He is ac- 
cused of horrible blasphemies against the heav- 
enly bodies, for which he must be burned, as well 
as for having diverted from the priestly coffers 
the spoils of the widows. So Voltaire's Lettres 
philosophiques were condemned to be lacerated 
and burned by the Parliaments of Paris and 
Rouen, but Voltaire does not report it that way ; 
he uses a figure of speech. It is he, the author, 
who has been excommunicated and burned at 
Paris and Eouen; if that continues he will be 
burned twelve times (M. 33, p. 442). He fled 
to Cirey, which he calls a desert ; in other words, 
he is in Arabie deserte, which he will soon trans- 
form into Arabie heureuse, the paradise of the 
Mondain, the philosophic tendency of which is 
the same as that of the episode which we are 


considering. In this infdme persecution pour 
un livre he is sustained by the friendship of 
Mme. du Chatelet (M. 33, p. 426; May, 1Y34), 
which surpasses by far the rage of his enemies. 
He seems to have thought of her and of Mme. 
de Richelieu as his "Almonas," since they 
finally secured the cessation of this persecution. 
"Voila Mme. de Richelieu qui va enfin etre 
presentee. Elle ne quittera point votre garde 
des sceaux qu'elle n'ait obtenu la paix " (M. 33, 
p. 542). The manner in which Almona puts 
the persecutors to shame is simply a vicious 
dig at the clergy, with the Archbishop of Paris 
at their head. It is no more to be taken seri- 
ously than the titles which she gives to the Arch- 
bishop (M. 21, Fils aine de la grande Ourse, 
frere du Taureau, cousin du grand Chieri). It 
is in the same style as the manner in which 
Zadig appeases the old Magian Yebor, by the 
gift of a maid of honor a laquelle il avait fait 
un enfant. The old Bishop of Mirepoix had 
made his way in the world through the influence 
of titled devotes, whose confessor he was. Such 
hypocrites, says Voltaire (M. 18, p. 350), al- 
ways had a little serail of six or seven old 
devotes, who had been discarded by their lov- 


ers. So here with the priests of the stars ; they 
are susceptible of no influence except that of 
carnal lust. 

, My third reason for thinking that Voltaire 
had the epithet of the " Speaker-of-the-truth " 
in mind in naming his hero Zadig is drawn 
from the philosophic tendency of the novel. As 
applied to Joseph the epithet seems peculiarly 
appropriate for the bearer of Voltaire's message 
about Providence, whose ways are not our ways. 
The story of the Patriarch is, in fact, an epi- 
tome of the Providence of Christianity. It is 
the lover of individual men and particular na- 
tions, at the expense of other individual men 
and other nations. Joseph was sent into Egypt, 
according to the Biblical account, to prepare a 
place for his brethren, that is, he was sent there 
by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to 
enslave a whole nation (the Egyptians, who 
became, through Joseph, the slaves of the 
Pharao), and all for the sake of a "vagabond 
race, sullied with all the crimes known to the 
history of human folly." 

Joseph was sold into slavery by his brethren 
from envy; here appeared the role of the En- 
meux, as it appears in Zadig, and as it appeared 


in Voltaire's life. The heroes experience sever- 
ally all its potentialities, even to the slavery 
motif, which is so often reflected in Voltaire's 
correspondence. Joseph was finally united to , 
his Zuleika, Zadig to his Astarte, and Voltaire 
finally bowed to the Church in order to get into 
the French Academy. Each hero had emerged 
triumphantly from all his trials and tribula- 
tions. Rousseau and Desfontaines were in their 
graves, Roi was the execration of all honorable 
men, Mirepoix was sent into semi-exile, in order 
to relieve him of the danger of choosing badly 
among the servants of God for the posts of honor 
in the French capital (M. 36, p. 357), while 
Voltaire, covered with the aegis of the vicar 
of Christ, had become one of the Immortals, 
historiographer of France, and gentilhomme 
ordinaire de la chambre du roi, with the privi- 
lege of selling his patent (which brought him 
about 60,000 francs) and retaining the title. 
And how had he accomplished it all ? Not dif- 1 
ferently from the symbolism of Zadig, with the f 
hero's submission to Providence, not differently 
from the Patriarch Joseph, with his riddles. 
The Princesse de Navarre and the favor of the 
Pompadour on the one hand, and Voltaire's 


submission to the Church on the other, had ac- 
complished what all his serious work, his real 
services, had failed to accomplish. 

In Voltaire's first open letter to prove his 
orthodoxy (M. 36, p. 191), Voltaire proclaims 
his love of religion, "a religion which makes 
one great family of all men, and whose practices 
are founded on tolerance and good works." 
Zadig does the same thing at Bassora (M. 21, p. 
61) : "II lui paraissait que 1'univers etait une 
Nj grande famille qui se rassemblait a Bassora." 
* He convinces the representatives of all sects, all 
of whom are merchants, that they are, at bottom, 
of one faith; they adore the Maker of the Uni- 
verse, and not those who have constituted them- 
selves his prophets and instructed mankind in 
his name. Voltaire had already given expres- 
sion to a similar thought in Holland, whither he 
had gone with Mme. de Rupelmonde (M. 33, 
p. 74). The cities of Holland, like Bassora, 
were great commercial centers, and like the Bas- 
sora of Zadig all cults seemed to flourish side 
by side. " Je vois des ministres calvinistes, des 
arminiens, des sociniens, des rabbins, des ana- 
baptistes, qui parlent tous a merveille, et qui, 
en verite, ont tous raison." So Zadig speaks of 


the sects of Bassora; he tells them that they 
are all agreed, all are right, without knowing it. 

This episode was probably suggested to Vol- 
taire by his letter above mentioned and by his 
remarks while at The Hague. It is probable 
that Bassora is meant to be a linguistic equiva- 
lent for the Netherlands. 

Voltaire's idea of a religion which made one 
great family of all men was not the religion 
which could open the doors of the Academy to 
him. In order that the grace efficace should 
descend, to speak in the phraseology which he 
likes to use, he had to give evidence of his love 
of the Christian religion as understood and 
practiced in his day. That Voltaire accom- 
plished by dedicating Mahomet to the Pope 
and by a profession of faith and orthodoxy, in 
his open letter to the Jesuits. 

In addition to the reasons which have already 
been given in support of the interpretation of 
the name Zadig as the " Truth-teller," there are 
others of less significance, to which, however, 
attention might be called. He writes to Cide- 
ville about his poem on the Battle of Fontenoy, 
in reference to the Marechal de Noailles, who, 
having no command (although he ranked the 


Marechal de Saxe, the commanding officer), 
was obliged to look on while others won imper- 
ishable glory (M. 36, p. 366) : "Les deux vers 
qui expriment qu'il n'est point jaloux et qu'il 
ne regarde que 1'interet de la France sont un 
petit trait de politique, si ce n'en est pas un de 
poesie; et ce sont precisement ces verites qui 
donnent a penser a un lecteur judicieux. Ces 
traits si eloignes des lieux communs, et ces allu- 
sions aux f aits qu'on ne doit pas dire hautement, 
mais qu'on doit f aire entendre ; ce sont la, dis-je, 
ces petites finesses qui plaisent aux homines 
comme vous, et qui echappent a ceux qui ne 
sont que gens de lettres." 

Apropos of a problem which he has stated in 
the form of a riddle, as to which of the three 
princesses which the Queen of Poland has given 
to reigning houses of Europe is the most vir- 
tuous and brings the greatest happiness to her 
subjects, he says (M. 36, p. 495): "Kien ne 
prouve mieux combien il est difficile de savoir 
au juste la verite dans ce monde ; et puis, mon- 
sieur, les personnes qui la savent le mieux sont 
tou jours celles qui la disent le moins." 

Perhaps nowhere in Zadig does Voltaire show 
more clearly his method of attesting the truth 


In the form of equivocal phrases than in the 
address of the hero to the judges after the cheval 
du roi des rois et la chienne de la reine have 
been found. Zadig has been fined four hundred 
ounces of gold for having seen (with his judg- 
ment) what he had not seen (with his eyes). 
He propitiates his judges and satirizes the juris- 
prudence of France in the following speech, full 
of equivoques: "Etoiles de justice, abimes de 
science, miroirs de verite, qui avez la pesanteur 
du plomb, la durete du fer, 1'eclat du diamant, 
et beaucoup d'affinite avec 1'or," etc. The equi- 
voques are charming, and none the less doubly 
edged with satire. Voltaire had become dis- x 
gusted with the jurisprudence of France in his 
early apprenticeship in a lawyer's office. He 
lauds Desbarreaux, who threw the documents 
of a lawsuit into the fire and paid the plaintiff 
the amount for which the suit was brought. He 
reproduces a similar episode in Zadig. He 
likewise lauded his friend and guardian angel 
d'Argental, who, disgusted with the absurd 
forms and barbarity of the law, gave up his 
charge of conseiller au parlement and retained 
only the title of conseiller d'honneur. It was fit- 
ting, Voltaire said, that he should bear the title 
of his estate ! 



The epithet of the "Witness-bearer" or the 
" Truth-teller " was also given by the Arabs to 
Aboubecre, father-in-law of Mohammed, to 
Jesus Christ, to the Virgin Mary, and to Ai'cha, 
the only "virgin" wife of Mohammed. They 
all refer to the attestation of revealed truth. 
Aboubecre attested the truth of Mohammed's 
mission, of the divine origin of the Goran, of 
the Prophet's journey on his horse Borac 
through the heavens, etc. His daughter, the 
Pucelle, obtained the title by attesting the au- 
thenticity of various traditions regarding Mo- 
hammed, just as the Virgin Mary obtained it 
by attesting the divine birth and mission of 
Jesus Christ. So Zadig really gets the title, it 
would seem, from his interview with the angel 
Jesrad ;j at least not until then is he able to com- 
pass his ends. It is a strong testimony to the 
power of revelation over the minds of his coun- 
trymen, as indeed over the whole human race. 

In all these applications of the name it is a 
question of a new cult. Voltaire could take the 
epithet seriously. His message to the world, or 
to be more explicit, to France, was in the inter- 
est of a new cult : the cult of reason. Voltaire 
likened himself to Jesus Christ, persecuted for 


truth and righteousness (in his letter to Mire- 
poix, M. 36, p. 193 if.). After such an example 
of submission to tribulation and death in the 
interests of truth, Voltaire can not complain. 
It i$ true, however, he ajlds, that one should 

defend oneself; not for the vain satisfaction of 

humbling and silencing an opponent, mais pour 

rendre gloire a la verite^ 

These are some of the reasons for thinking 
that Voltaire had the epithet of the "Truth- 
teller " in mind in composing his novel. I will 
now consider some of the reasons for believing 
that this significance was not the only one in- 
tended by the author. 


There are good reasons for believing that Vol- 
taire was not wholly concerned with the episode 
of Joseph and Zuleika in the creation of his 
novel and the name of his hero. In the first 
place, he is not likely to have chosen the name 
from any one source, for he would then have 
kept it in the form in which he found it. Her- 
belot (Vol. 1, p. 76) makes a clear distinction 
between Sadik and Seddik (or Siddik). The 
former means the "just" man, he says, while 


the latter means " temoin fidele et authentiques," 
There may have been a confusion between the 
two, due to the marking of the vowel points, 
but we must consider Herbelot as Voltaire's 
chief source. The first objection, therefore, to 
the interpretation of Kemy and Hammer is 
based on linguistic grounds. 

There are also internal evidences from the 
novel which point to the connotation of the just 
man in the name, if not its significance as such. 
The author stresses that characteristic in his 
hero. At the very beginning of the novel Zadig 
practices charity, in accordance with the pre- 
cept of Zoroaster : " When you eat, give to eat 
to the dogs, though they bite you." , The Mo- 
hammedans consider the giving of alms "une 
action de justice aussi bien que de charite" 
(Herbelot, description of the book " Sadik " or 
"Sadikat" of Abou-Haian, which treats of 
justice and alms-giving). Also, at the very end 
of the novel it is distinctly stated that the reign 
of Zadig and Astarte was the reign of " justice 
and love." Of course, one may object, there 
can be no reign of justice and love until the 
truth has been established on its throne. Fur- 
ther, what causes Zadig to murmur against 


Providence, after Itobad has stolen his white 
armor and made himself King of Babylon and 
husband of Astarte, is that all his "justice" 
has not only not brought him any reward, but 
has served only to his misfortune. Here again 
the reply is forthcoming: Zadig accomplishes 
his ends only after he has constituted himself a 
"temoin fidele et authentique." After he has 
joined the ranks of the faithful adorers and 
given witness to revealed religion, persecution ^ 
ceases, and, it would seem, also tne epithet of 
"just," since the angel says that the just man 
is always persecuted. 

This connotation in the name is strengthened 
by the probable influence of the Hebrew Sadoc 
or Zadoc, which means the just man. As 
founder of the sect of the Sadducees, the rul- 
ing priestly class among the Jews, Sadoc would 
seem to stand for a philosophy which, in part, 
is reflected in the episode of the Angel and the 
Hermit. This sect believed, like the Jews 
under Moses, only in temporal rewards and 
punishments. Voltaire was greatly interested 
in the topic, both because of its connection with 
the mission of Christ, and because of Warbur- 
ton's book on the mission of Moses. Warburton 


started with the premise that a nation could not 
exist without the dogma of rewards and punish- 
ments after death, if it were not under a special 
Providence, i. e., led by God in person, and re- 
warded and punished immediately. Since the 
books of Moses do not contain this dogma, the 
Jews must have been guided by this special 
Providence. For this specious reasoning War- 
burton was made a peer of the realm, with an 
/enormous pension, and Voltaire sighs : II riy a 
qu'heur et malheur dans le monde. 

It will be noticed that there is no question of 
rewards and punishments after death in the 
episode of the Angel Jesrad. Everything is 
te.mjgoral: either reward, or punishment, or 
trial, or foresight. The hero is exactly in the 

-- - u L --..-.n_-- ui L ' * mr"~^** ' ' 

position of Job: he has been given over to the 
devil for trial of his faith, and he is rewarded 
when the caprice of his master is ended. 

Besides the influences which have already 
been noted in the name of Voltaire's hero, there 
is the probability of influence from the name of 
the Persian poet Sadi or Saadi, both as regards 
the name and the character. We know that Vol- 
taire was acquainted with the Persian poet. It is 
under his name that he masks himself in the 



Epiire dedicatoire of the novel. Voltaire men- 
tions a French translation of the Gulistan, and 
he himself translated a score of verses either from 
the original or from some Latin or Dutch transla- 
tion. Without ascribing to him any profound 
knowledge of Persian literature, we may safely 
assume that he knew about as much of Saadi 
as was to be found in published books in his 
time. If he had had no other source than Her- 
belot he would have been fairly familiar with 
the character and the contents of the works of 
the illustrious Persian, because Herbelot quotes 
copiously from him. 

There are a certain number of correspond- 
ences between the Persians and the French. 
Voltaire realized this in making Persepolis the 
symbol for Paris in his novel Bdbouc. The pun 
on Persans and Parisiem was too obvious for 
him not to make it, since he makes one on Paris 
(Parisis) and Isis, the Egyptian diety (M. 21, 
p. 417). Montesquieu had already given promi- 
nence to this similarity in his Lettres persanes. 
There are also a number of correspondences 
between the Persian Saadi and Voltaire. Saadi 
hated injustice, violence, and fanaticism (cf. 
Introduction to translation of the Boustan by 


A. C. Barbier de Meymard, Paris, 1880) ; he 
rails at the Envieux as does Voltaire ; he is re- 
plete with moral allegories illustrating the ad- 
vantage of silence, or of speaking the truth as 
Saadi alone knows how, or pointed with allu- 
sions to the injustice of kings and the evils of 
religious fanaticism. The following are some 
of his maxims which find close parallels in 
Zadig or other works of Voltaire which show an 
Orientalizing tendency. 

As Zadig shows the King of Serendib that he 
has only one honest aspirant to the post of 
controleur general des finances in seventy-four, 
so Saadi says to his sultan (cf. Boustan, op. cit., 
p. 18) : " Sur cent agents tu trouveras a peine 
un honnete homme." 

As Arimaze is deficient in the divine spark 
which distinguishes man from the beast, so 
Saadi says (p. 51) : " Ce n'est pas le titre 
d'homme qui donne la superiorite sur la brute, 
puisque celle-ci vaut mieux que 1'homme crimi- 
nel. Le sage seul est superieur aux betes 

Arimaze, le malheureux, is contrasted with 
Zadig, I'heureux. Voltaire says, in reference 
to the persecutors whom he has known (M. 25, 


p. 466) : " Jai connu des horames bien mediants, 
bien atroces; je n'en ai jamais vu un seul 
heureux." So Saadi says (p. 51): "Mais de 
ma vie, je n'ai vu la felicite veritable etre le 
partage des mediants." 

Voltaire's usual practice of biding his time 
until he could take his enemy off his guard and 
then striking swiftly and with the greatest ve- 
hemence, finds an admirable parallel in the ad- 
vice of Saadi (p. 71): "L'empire du monde 
appartient a 1'habilete et a la ruse; 1 baise la 
main que tu ne peux mordre; prodigue les 
caresses a ton ennemi, comme tu le ferais a ton 
ami, en attendant Poccasion de 1'ecorcher vif ! " 
How that would have appealed to Voltaire when 
he had to submit to men like Fleury, Herault, 
Maurepas, and Mirepoix*! It is not different 
from the fate that Frederick foresaw for the old 
ane de Mirepoix in case Voltaire ever succeeded 
in getting into the Academy. He writes to Vol- 
taire (M. 36, p. 237) : 

" Malheur a Mirepoix si son panegyrique 
Se prononce jamais en style academique ! 
Les arts qu'il offensa, pour venger leurs chagrins, 

1 This conviction is repeated in a score of places in 
Voltaire's Essai sur les Mceurs. 


Renverseront sa tombe avec leurs propres mains; 

Et la fade oraison que lui fera Neuville 

Aura meme en sa bouche un air de vaudeville." 

The fable that Saadi relates of the negro and 
the peri (p. 284) is a closer parallel to the 
episode of Missouf and Cletofis than the episode 
in Moliere (Le manage force), which has been 
considered its source. When Saadi drives off 
the negro, the capricious beauty turns upon him 
like a fury and he barely escapes her claws. He 
draws this lesson from his adventure, which is 
an admirable statement of the lesson that Zadig 
draws from his adventure -with Missouf : " De 
telles disgraces n'arrivent pas a qui s'occupe 
tranquillement de ses affaires. De ma mesa- 
venture j'ai tire une legon: desormais je fer- 
merai les yeux sur les torts les plus averes 
d'autrui." The giant negro and the brilliant 
peri seemed like the embrace of night and dawn. 
Voltaire used this comparison also in the Prin- 
cesse de Babylone (M. 21, p. 431), where the 
King of Ethiopia, in the upper Egypt where the 
episode of Missouf takes place, -is surprised by 
Amazan as he is about to ravish Formosante. 

Compare the following figure with the adven- 
ture of Zadig with Azora, who wished to "cut 


off his nose " : " Pourquoi la main d'une femme, 
quand elle louche au fruit defendu, epargnerait- 
elle le visage de son epoux ? Si tu vois que ta 
compagne ne se resigne pas a la retraite, la 
raison et la prudence te defendent de vivre plus 
longtemps avec elle" (p. 297). 

The following is a good epitome of Voltaire's 
diatribes against the Envieux (p. 305): "Tel 
homme mene une vie retire : on lui reproche de 
dedaigner la societe de ses semblables, on 1'ac- 
cuse de faussete et d'hypocrisie. ' C'est un dive 
qui fuit le genre humain.' S'il est d'un carac- 
tere facile et sociable, on lui refuse 1'honnetete 
des moeurs et la sagesse. Le riche est dechire 
a belles dents ; ' s'il y a un pharaon en ce monde, 
c'est lui.' Le pauvre, dont la vie se consume 
dans la misere, est un miserable, un vagabond ; 
le derviche aux prises avec le denuement, un 
etre vil et disgracie du sort. Qu'une grande 
fortune vienne a s'ecrouler, ils s'en rejouissent 
et disent : ' C'est un bienf ait du Ciel ; tant de 
f aste et d'orgueil ne pouvait durer ; les desastres 
suivent de pres la prosperite.' Qu'un homme 
pauvre et sans appui parvienne a un rang eleve, 
leurs dents noires de venin dechirent 'cet in- 
fame, ce parvenu objet.' As-tu produit une 


ceuvre utile et lucrative, tu es un ambitieux, 
un avare. Preferes-tu la meditation a la vie 
active, tu n'es plus qu'un mendiant, un parasite. 
Si tu paries, ils te comparent a un tambour 
sonore et creux ; si tu gardes le silence, a une de 
ces figures peintes sur les murs des bains. 
L'homme patient est a leurs yeux un lache, a 
qui la crainte fait courber la tete ; mais devant 
la hardiesse et Penergie, ils fuient en traitant le 
courage de folie." 

These envious detractors of Saadi, whom he 
lashes without pity, listen disdainfully to his 
poetry. \. A hundred delicate and charming traits 
leave them insensible, "mais vienne une de- 
faillance, ils poussent des cris d'horreur." f The 
only source of their evil will is envy, he says, 
which conceals from them the perception of the 
beautiful. J -- 


The episode in Zadig of the fisherman, while 
primarily the outcome of Voltaire's Epitre sur 
I'egalite des conditions (one of the Discours en 
vers sur I'homme), is in strict conformity with 
Saadi's views. The moral of one of his stories 
is that everybody has his misfortunes, irre- 
spective of temporal possessions. 

In the Gulistan occurs the story of the drop 


of water which became sad at the prospect of 
being lost in the immensity of the ocean. God 
took pity on it and made it a pearl which 
adorned the crown of the Great Mogul. This 
is, at bottom, the same apologue as the grain of 
sand in the episode of Arbogad in Zadig. Vol- 
taire elsewhere (M. 17, p. 570) makes use of 
this apologue of the drop of water in the same 
sense as the one of the grain of sand. Vol- 
taire never believed in the equality of earthly 
possessions, nor of physical and intellectual en- 
dowment. He tells us, first in the case of Abbe 
Linant, preceptor of the son of Mme. du Chate- 
let, and later in the case of Jean Jacques Kous- 
seau, what the proud exponent of the equality 
of man must do: either he must work, or beg, 
or rob, or die of hunger. If the Creator has not 
made him a pearl, or a diamond, and if He does 
not do so on request, let him be content to remain 
a grain of sand or a drop of water; he is in 
numerous company. 

It should also be noticed that Zadig is rep- 
resented as a poet, whose verses come easily, 
impromptu, and that his misfortune comes from 
an envious man who makes use of these verses to 
compass his ruin. That, and the parallels which 


we have noted, together with the signature of the 


Epitre dedicatoire, would seem to be conclusive 
evidence of some influence of the poet Saadi on the 
name and character of Zadig. As I have already 
said, Zadig is probably not chosen from any one 
name, since it appears in exactly the form of 
none that we have been able to discover. It is 
undoubtedly made up from several, and the 
more important sources of it have undoubtedly 
been indicated here. As to the character Zadig, 
there can be no question that it is Voltaire. 



THE purpose of this chapter is to determine 
the provenience and the significance of the name 
Moabdar, King of Babylon. 

Iii the first place, what is Babylon ? Does the 
author refer to the Babylon of the ancient Chal- 
deans, to the Egyptian Babylon, to the Babylon 
of the Mohammedan califs (i. e., Bagdad), or 
to the Babylon of Saint Peter (i. e., Eome) ? 
may refer to them all, but if he does so it 
is by virtue of the significance of the name : the 
City of Baal, and the City of Babel. He uses 
Babylon in both senses, the one being the literal 
significance of the name, and the other the re- 
sult of a pun. Both meanings are closely allied, 
since most of the " babel " in the world is about 
the deity, under whatever name it be called. 
Voltaire might just as well have referred to 
Babylon as the " City where Pangloss is the 
preceptor of the human race." The King of 
Babylon may, therefore, be considered the King 


of the Land of Pangloss, the King of the City of 
the Confusion of Tongues God, in other words, 
either as God, or as represented by his vicars on 
earth : the Pope, on the one hand, and the vari- 
ous Kings, on the other. All of them are gods 
on earth, wielders of the thunder, authors of 
good and evil, and chiefly the latter. 
s-s It would seem obvious that Moabdar has 
some connection with Voltaire's early satires on 
the Regent and his daughter, the modern Lot 
and his daughter, mere des Moabites. Herbe- 
lot gives the significance of dar as house, palace, 
residence, sojourn, place. The name Moabdar 
would then signify the " King-of-the-house-of- 
Moab," i. e., the descendant of Lot. The theme 
is one of incest, like that of Voltaire's satires on 
the Regent, like that of (Edipe, like that of the 
Pucelle, like that of Candide, and other works. 
There is, I think, no reason to doubt that 
Voltaire was inspired to compose (Edipe by the 
incestuous relations of the Regent and his 
daughter, nor is there any reason to doubt, I 
think, that the same theme appears in the Pu- 
celle. Voltaire seems to indicate this in the 
short-story of the Comte de Boursoufle (M. 32, 
p. 447). One of the reasons why the hero of 


that story can not get into the French Academy 
is the fact that he has discovered why Jeanne 
d'Arc was called the Pucelle d' Orleans. He 
seems to mean that the Pucelle d'Orleans is the 
Pucelle du due d'Orleans, is the Pucelle of the 
New Testament. As in his narrative of the 
expulsion of the Jesuits from China, Voltaire 
wished to ridicule in the Pucelle the cult of 
virginity, the birth of a god who is his own 
father by his mother, who is thus father and 
son and husband all in one, and also, by virtue 
of the reconciliation of the genealogy of Jesus, 
was the brother of Mary. This god of love, who 
is to rule the world, is symbolized by the winged 
ass of Saint Denis, who finally gets the favors 
of the Pucelle. As a phallic animal the ass is 
the god of love, and was the symbol, in reality 
or by a vicious invention of the enemies of the 
new cult, of the early Christians of Constanti- 
nople and Rome. Voltaire seems to indicate 
the association with the Bible in those enigmat- 
ical verses of his about Joachim Prepucier, for 
which no explanation has ever been offered (M. 
32, p. 386). While the hero who governs 
France (i. e., the Regent) , defender of the State 
and the King, is bringing back abundance into 


the land, Joachim Prepucier also wishes to 
make two young hearts content. His prepara- 
tions to unite Daphnis and Cloe surprise the 
god of marriage; Joachim is not the person to 
unite a couple, but rather to separate them, tak- 
ing them both for himself. The only way in 
which Daphnis and Cloe can avoid dissatisfac- 
tion with the dangerous master who has united 
them is to be friends, after having been lovers. 
The genealogy of Christ was reconciled, Vol- 
taire says (M. 32, p. 590 f.), in the following 
way : Joachim is the father of the Virgin ; Elie 


is the father of Joseph; but Elie = Joachim, 
since (1), Elie is an abbreviation of Eliachim, 


and (2), from Eliachim you easily get Joachim. 
But Joachim Prepucier, as the name indicates, 
is the phallic god, who, like Hermaphrodix and 
Conculix, loves both sexes, and is a symbol for 
the Regent on the one hand, and the God of the 
Christians (as conceived by Voltaire) on the 

In the Pucelle Voltaire represents the Regent 
as giving the signal for debauchery : 

" Vous repondez a ce signal, 
Jeune Daphne, bel astre de la cour; 
Vous repondez du sein du Luxembourg, 


Vous que Bacchus et le Dieu de la table 
MJenent au lit, escorte par 1' Amour." 

The bel astre de la cour was the Kegent's 
daughter, the famous Duchess of Berry. 

It was for satiric epigrammes against the 
Regent and his daughter that Voltaire was ex- 
iled May 4, 1716 (M. 1, p. 300), to Tulle, 
which was changed, at the request of his father, 
to Sully-sur-Loire. The order for this exile 
bore the significant words: "ou ses parents 
pourront corriger son imprudence et temperer 
sa vivacite." 

The following is the epigramme against the 
Regent : 

" Ce n'est point le fils, c'est le pere ; 
C'est la fille et non point la mere; 
A cela pres tout va des mieux. 
Ils ont deja fait teocle; 
S'il vient a perdre les deux yeux, 
C'est le vrai sujet de Sophocle." 

The Regent was in fact, at this time, in dan- 
ger of becoming blind. The epigramme against 
the Duchess of Berry is as follows: 

" Enfin votre esprit est gueri 
Des craintes du vulgaire; 


Belle duchesse de Berry, 

Achevez le mystere. 

Un nouveau Lot vous sert d'epoux, 

Mere des Moabitesj 

Puisse bientot naitre de vous 

Un peuple d' Ammonites." 

If, as is probable, this episode was the inspi- 
ration of (Edipe, the poet did not let it appear 
in his tragedy. He was not the man to give in 
dramatic form an episode of dissolute morals; 
nor was he the man to treat the subject of Sopho- 
cles as all his predecessors had done. He made 
of it his first sermon against the Jansenists and 
the God of the Jansenists, in whose religion the 
future of every individual is established, like 
the interacting cogs of a huge machine which 
turns, forever hidden, except for the present 
moment, beneath the blackness of an impene- 
trable veil; the theory of predestination. 
(Edipe is inceste et parricide, et pourtant vertu- 
eux. Jocaste reminds him that, in the midst of 
the horrors of destiny which overwhelm them, 
she has made the gods blush for having forced 
them into crime. It is important to notice that 
Voltaire makes the God of the Jansenists evil 
raised to the infinite, and the author of all evil 
(cf. M. 17, p. 476, 577, 581). 


After the ban of exile had been removed from 
him in 1716, Voltaire seems to have been under 
surveillance. While rehearsals of (Edipe were 
going on he was betrayed by the French officer 
and spy of the Regent, M. Solenne de Beaure- 
gard. He was arrested Jour de Pentecdte, he 
says in his poem on the Bastille, but we can not, 
in view of his mania of connecting everything 
that happened to him with the Bible, be sure 
that he did not invent this trait in order to get 
in a bit of satire on the Holy Ghost. He had 
satirized, the Father, in his epigrammes on the 
Regent; he had satirized the Son, in his Puero 
Regnante; it was now the turn of the Holy 
Ghost. His valet awakens him to tell him that 
the Saint Esprit is come. "Et moi de dire 
alors entre mes dents: gentil puine de 1'essence 
supreme, Beau Paraclet, soyez le bienvenu; 
n'etes-vous pas celui qui fait qu'on aime ? " But 
instead of the gentle dove of the Holy Ghost, 
he finds twenty ravens who have come to take 
him off to one of the King's castles; the King 
has heard of his verses and bons mots, and de- 
sires to give him free board and lodging. The 
poet protests in vain that he is not a court poet, 
and that he does not wish to become one. He 

is carried off, forsaken by everyone, even by his 

In a neatly turned epigramme, probably 
written at this time, Voltaire excused himself 
from the-imjDutatipn of the authorship of the 
satires on the Regent, and invokes the testimony 
of the Duke of Brancas, through whose hands 
the verses on Joachim Prepucier also passed : 

"Non, monseigneur, en verite, 
Ma muse n'a jamais chante 
Ammonites ni Moabites. 
Brancas vous repondra de moi. 
Un rimeur sorti des Jesuites, 
Des peuples de 1'ancienne loi 
Ne connait que des Sodomites." 

No better indication of Voltaire's daring 
could be found; for this apology was, in itself, 
a new satire on the morals of the Regent, who 
calls himself un Socrate a cheveux gris. 

Voltaire, in his Lettres sur (Edipe, tries to 
give the impression that the Regent was con- 
vinced of his innocence of the satires imputed 
to him. He knows better, and he shows it by 
saying that the Regent gave him a pension of 
2000 livres, not so much to recompense him, 
as to induce him to merit his protection. How 


could he merit that protection ? Only by drop- 
ping once for all the line of personal satire in 
which he had engaged. He tries, in his Lettres 
sur (Edipe, to give the impression that it was 
for the satire Les j'ai vu that he was persecuted. 
But the report of Beauregard (M. 1, p. 300) 
shows distinctly that the source of the watchful- 
ness of the Regent was in the satires on his 
relations to his daughter. Voltaire hates the 
Regent for having exiled him in 1716 ; the Re- 
gent hates Voltaire for having shown que sa 
Messaline de fille etait une p. . . . In his 
references to Les j'ai vu Voltaire is, I think, 
simply playing on words. This satire was three 
years old, and Voltaire could hardly have been 
suspected of being its author, and less likely to 
have been persecuted for it at that late date. 
What he is really thinking of is the persecution 
for ce quil avait vu, namely, the incest of the 
Regent. I have already indicated my belief that 
it was in reminiscence of this persecution, which 
was unpleasantly recalled to his mind by the 
Voltairomanie of Desfontaines, that Voltaire in- 
cluded in his novel the episode of the Cheval du 
roi des rois et la chienne sacree de la reine. 
I think that this episode with the Regent has 


much to do with Voltaire's name, and, as it is 
intimately connected with his symbolism, I will 
include here my theory of it. 

The last letter in which he signs himself 
Arouet is dated from Chatenay, April 15, and 
this letter is probably the first that the poet 
wrote after his release from the Bastille and on 
beginning his short exile. The next letter in 
the correspondence, if properly classified (since 
it is undated), is the first in which the new 
name Voltaire occurs. It is to the Regent, and 
the name Voltaire occurs both in the body of the 
letter and at the end, and without the least 
word of explanation for the change. Since Vol- 
taire explained to Jean Baptiste Rousseau his 
reasons for adopting a new name, is it probable 
that he would have been silent on this topic to 
the Regent, especially since all his misfortunes, 
of which he complains to Rousseau, came from 
the Regent? We' may safely assume that he 
would not, and that he must have given to the 
Regent, before being released from the Bastille, 
some assurance of his future conduct. He ad- 
mits, in this letter, that the Regent has corrected 


him by a year in the Bastille ; that is, that the 
purpose of the first exile, pour corriger son im- 
prudence et temperer so, vivacite, has been ac- 
complished by his imprisonment. I take it that 
this name, Voltaire, is to be for him an ever 
present reminder of this fact, especially since 
he was so volontaire by nature. He will be 
from now on, not M. de Volontaire, but M. de 
Voltaire, a man vowed to circumspection. This 
interpretation of the name is not at all far- 
fetched, in view of Voltaire's habit of punning 
on names. He notes similar names in his 
works. Tasso called himself Pentito, to mark 
his repentance for the years which he had 
wasted in the study of law. Scarron called his 
income from his books the rents from his terre 
de Quinet, that being the name of his publisher. 
D'Argental, as conseiller d'honneur au parle- 
ment, bears the name of his estate. Chabanon, 
because he composed an excellent exposition of 
a tragedy, which Voltaire calls a vestibule, is 
dubbed M. du Vestibule. Maupertuis is called 
M. le marquis du cercle polaire. In short, 
scores of such examples could be given. 

Voltaire tells Rousseau that he had two rea- 
sons for adopting another name: he had been 


so unhappy under the name of Arouet that he 
wished to- see if his fate would be more pro- 
pitious under a new name, and he wished to 
distinguish himself from the poet Hoi. It seems 
that the name Eoi was pronounced at that time 
quite the same as the last syllable of Arouet (cf. 
Kyrop). Thus Arouet is a king, but a king 
without a land. What does he do? He takes 
one, he steals one, not literally, like the other 
kings, but figuratively, like Scarron's terre de 
Quinei, and d'Argental's terre d'honneur, etc. 
His land is in the Republic of Letters. He will 
not give up the career of a man of letters, as he 
had been urged ; on the contrary, he will become 
king of it, by symbolism ! He was noble, on his 
mother's side; he was noble by sentiments and 
instincts ; he was noble by talents. He lived in 
the plus grand monde, as one author expresses 
it, and was enrage d'etre bourgeois. By the as- 
sumption of a place name he raised himself 
into the ranks of conventional nobility. He was 
better than his noble associates, for the entire 
nobility of Europe, from the greatest kings 
down, owed their titles, in extremo, to theft. 
This thought is repeated in a score of places 
in Voltaire's works ; even the kingdom of heaven \ 


was not different from the kingdoms of the 
earth: violenti rapiunt illud. No better expo- 
sition of this can be found than in the episode 
of Arbogad. 

Voltaire made use of a variation on his name 
in the pseudonym under which he traveled in 
Holland : M . de Revol. He undoubtedly uses a 
combination of the name of Mme. de Rupel- 
monde, widow of M. de Recourt, and his name 
of Voltaire. He had been in Holland with her 
in 1722 ; he has to fly back there at the time of 
the persecution for the Mondain: he is M. de 
Revol, with a play on voler, to fly, and court, 
from courir, to run. 

The name Voltaire would be, then, a clever 
equivoque, like all the symbolic names of which 
he makes use. It marks the author's desire to 
be a noble, both in the conventional sense and 
in the Republic of Letters ; it marks his symbol- 
ism ; it marks his plan of eluding persecution. 

In connection with his satires on the Regent 
Voltaire took a characteristically bold attitude: 
he determined to dedicate his tragedy to the 
Regent, and actually did dedicate it to the wife 
of the Regent. This procedure is a genuine 
Voltaire-trait, exactly paralleled by his dedi- 


cation of Mahomet to the Pope. Voltaire chose, 
in both cases, the protector whom he had really 
outraged, and the only one capable of protecting 

The opening of the novel falls, therefore, in 
the period of Voltaire's demeles with the Re- 
gent, whose debauchery was so famous. It is 
the same association of ideas with Lot, and 
Sodom and Gomorra, that is at the bottom of 
the symbolism of Babouc. The angel Ituriel 
sends Babouc to Persepolis to see if there are 
enough just men in it to warrant its preserva- 
tion. The idea is taken from the visit of the 
angels to the two cities of Palestine. Dealing, 
as Voltaire's novels do, with his enemies in the 
Republic of Letters, in religion, and in political 
despotism, no better or rather no more fitting 
theme could have been chosen by him, in view 
of the reputation of the Church that he assails/ 
and that of such men as the Regent, Frederick, 
Desfontaines, Rousseau. 

It is probable, then, that Moabdar is the suc- 
cessor of Lot, i. e., Louis XV, the successor of 
the Regent. 

The chief point to be noticed in reference to 
Moabdar is that his madness and death lead to 


a war of succession. This fact, if we keep in 
mind the timeliness of all Voltaire's work, 
points to the war of the Austrian succession, of 
which Voltaire was historiographer. Charles 
VI was the type of monarch that Voltaire holds 
up to the condemnation of the world. In his 
Ode sur la mort de I'Empereur Charles VI (M. 
8, p. 447), Voltaire compares this roi des rois 
to a cedar whose head defied so long the tem- 
pests and whose branches overshadowed so 
many states ; his very name is now effaced, de- 
voured by the grave in which he is buried. If 
he had conducted his armies in person and by 
his valor strengthened the Empire, whose glory 
is expiring beneath the proud Ottoman; if he 
had been terrible to the Turks, instead of being 
terrible to his generals, whose death he sought 
for concluding peace ; or if, better still, he had 
caused the arts to flourish, like the second of the 
Csesars, then Voltaire, instead of holding him 
up as a warning to kings, would, as the herald 
of truth, have showered upon him the praises of 
immortal verse, whose light pierces the depths 
of the night of time. 

How could Voltaire associate Charles VI 
under the same symbol with Louis XV? He 


makes many historical rapprochements, such as 
that of Frederick with Solomon, with the Em- 
peror Frederick III (cf. Annales de I' Empire, 
Beauchot 23, p. 392), and with the Emperor 
Frederick II. That is but natural. In dis- 
cussing the sacrament of marriage and the inter- 
ference of the popes with the bed of kings, he 
naturally ranges all historical instances of this 
under one heading. It was but natural, in the 
war of 1Y41, that Voltaire should think of the 
wars of succession in France, two of which he 
had already treated poetically, one in the Hen- 
riade, the other in the Pucelle. In the canto 
of the Pucelle entitled the Capilotade, Voltaire 
has satirized many of his enemies under names 
which appear (in editions published in the life- 
time of the author) to be those of poets under 
the reign of Charles VI. His association of 
ideas seems plain: Charles VI, le Menraime, is, 
by virtue of his epithet, Louis XV, le bien-aime. 
But the Emperor was also Charles VI, there- 
fore he is also Moabdar. When Louis XV fell 
ill at Metz and dismissed his mistress through 
the machinations of "un sot" (M. 9, p. 220), 
some other fool gave him the title of bienrdime. 
As soon as he became the bien-avme he became, 


for Voltaire's symbolism, Charles VI, the mad 
King of France, and Charles VI, the Emperor, 
whose death had become the signal for the 
war of the Austrian Succession. 

This symbolism is quite obvious from the 
eposide of Missouf and Cletofis. As Zadig 
nears the first village of Egypt he sees a woman 
in tears, of touching beauty, somewhat like 
Astarte, being maltreated by a jealous brute. 
She calls upon Zadig to save her. Zadig remon- 
strates with the jealous lover, who, accusing 
him of being one of her favorites, turns upon 
him with blind and passionate vehemence. Za- 
dig is forced to kill him. ^hereupon the ca- 
pricious lady breaks out in execrations upon 
him for killing her lover. Zadig is dumb- 
founded at her conduct. Shortly afterward the 
emissaries of Moabdar appear and take Missouf 
for Astarte, in pursuit of whom they had been 
despatched in all directions. Voltaire is here 
referring to the fool Fitz-James who caused the 
dismissal of Mme. de Chateauroux, and who 
was himself the instrument of Maurepas. The 
name of the brute, Cletofis, seems to be a hybrid 
formed from the following elements: -fis = 
fils = fitz (of Fitz- James ); CUto (Para)- 


clet, celui qui fait quon dime, as Voltaire inter- 
prets it in his poem on the Bastille, and is a 
translated pun on the last component part of 
the name Fitz-James. Cletofis is, therefore, 
the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of the Clergy, 
a spirit which Voltaire had attacked often 
enough, and in consequence of which he was 
reduced to a position of servitude in his own 

Missouf is carried to Babylon and has the 
good fortune to please the King, who makes her 
his wife. Then she shows the significance of 
her name : she is la belle capricieuse, who gives 
free rein to all her extravagant fancies. These 
consist principally in awarding positions of 
honor to those who are particularly unfit for 
them. She asked the High Priest, who was old 
and gouty, to dance before her, and, on his re- 
fusal, persecuted him violently. She ordered the 
Head Groom to make her a tart. It was in vain 
for him to protest that he was not a pastry- 
cook; he had to make the tart, and was dis- 
charged because it was burned. She gave his 
charge to the court fool, and the place of Chan- 
cellor to a page. 
**> Voltaire had been ambitious to play a role at 


court. He had found in England men of letters 
honored with the highest offices in the gift of 
the crown] The Comte de Maurepas had aided 
him to win his cause against the Abbe Desfon- 
taines, and the poet counted on the protection 
of the Minister to get into the French Academy. 
At the time of the persecutions of Mirepoix 
Voltaire was designated by the King to visit 
the court of Frederick on a semi-diplomatic 
mission. Amelot was Minister of Foreign Af- 
fairs at this time, and Voltaire acted under his 
immediate instructions, although the correspond- 
ence passed through the hands of Mme. du 
Chatelet. It seems that Mme. de Chateauroux 
was jealous that the negotiations had not passed 
through her hands, and she caused Amelot to be 
dismissed. Voltaire had hoped to make his 
real services to France serve his ambition to get 
into the French Academy, but the disgrace of 
Amelot, and the discontent of the King's mis- 
tress, together with the enmity of Maurepas, 
wrecked his hopes. To Maurepas Voltaire had 

r * 

addressed an Epitre, now known as the Epitre a 


un ministre d'Etat sur I' Encouragement des 
arts, in the hope of enlisting his support, but 
Maurepas hated even more than Fleury tout ce 


qui s'elevait au-dessus des hommes ordinaires, 
says Condorcet, and Voltaire's hints seem to 
have produced a bad effect on him. On the 
death of Floury Maurepas joined Mirepoix, ac- 
cording to Voltaire (Memoires pour servir a 
la vie de Voltaire), to prevent the poet's elec- 
tion to the place made vacant by the Cardinal's 
death. He is reported to have said to the poet : 
Je vous ecraserai. ITow, in the Epitre of Vol- 
taire, the patronage of the court is compared to 
the casting of lots in the household of the Duke 
of Mazarin for the posts of honor, just about as 
Missouf distributes them. 

" On compte que Pepoux de la celebre Hortense 
Signala plaisamment sa sainte extravagance: 
Craignant de f aire un choix par sa f aible raison, 
II tirait aux trois des les rangs de sa maison. 
Le sort, d'un postilion, faisait un secretaire; 
Son cocher etonne devint homme d'affaire; 
Un docteur hibernois, son tres-digne aumonier, 
Rendit grace au destin qui le fit cuisinier." 

It was undoubtedly in reminiscence of this 
vain attempt to arouse in Maurepas a sense of 
duty towards men of letters and especially 
towards himself, that Voltaire created the char- 
acter of Missouf. Her name is probably either 



an anagramme for, Miss Fouyor it is from the 
Greek, meaning " Sne I wno-hates-philosophy." 
Philosophy is the love of truth, therefore Mis- 
souf hates the Speaker-of-the-truth, i. e., Zadig 
and Voltaire. Her resemblance to Astarte is 
explained in an episode of the Pucelle (M. 9, 
p. 270), where Voltaire describes the two kinds 
of imagination. Missouf is not the goddess, 
Venus Urania, who presides over immortal 

" Mais celle-lk qui abjure le bon sens, 
Cette etourdie, eflfaree, insipide, 
Que tant d'auteurs approehent de si pres, 
Qui les inspire," etc. 

Her finest favors are showered on novels, new 
comic operas, on Scuderi, Lemoine, Desmarets, 
etc. All the characters of the Pucelle are in 
her domain, where a scene similar to that of 
Missouf takes place : 

" Comme ils couraient dans ce vaste pourpris, 
L'un se saignant, Pautre tout en lannes, 
Ils sont frappes des plus lugubres cris. 
Un jeune objet, touchant, rempli de charmes, 
Avec frayeur embrassait les genoux 
D'un chevalier qui, couvert de ses armes, 
L'allait bientot immoler sous ses coups." 


Here everybody is crazy; they are just like the 
Sorbonne professors: Us sont tons fous quand 
Us sont sur les banes. In short, the episode here, 
as in Zadig, deals with the capricious folly of 
literature, of religion, of politics. This episode 

~"***""*'^i% J,p4**f*n**i , B SfaaBW*i*' -Jk*.-.- -- *** -L 

has also a pendant in the Diable antique, nomme 
I'Inconstance (== caprice) of the Guerre civile 
de Geneve (M. 9, p. 527). 

It is possible that the name Missouf may have 
been influenced by the extravagance of the im- 
agination of the Abbe de Voisenon in his novel 
Le Sultan Misapouf et la princesse Grisemine, 
and Cletofis by the Don Cleofas of Le Sage's 
Diable boiteux. 

One can easily see how Voltaire rounds out 
his symbolism. Not only is Louis XV, as soon 
as he becomes le bien-aime, the mad King of 
France, Charles VI, but, as a mad king, he 
must necessarily be the lover of Miss Fou, of 
Folly, of Extravagance, of Wild Imaginings.^-- 

It should be noticed that it is really Missouf 
who causes the war in the novel, and that Vol- 
taire ascribed the part of France in this war to 
Mme. de Chateauroux, as he ascribed the peace 
of 1748, and the beginning of European felic- 
ity, to Mme. de Pompadour. In each case it is 


love, of different natures, but also similar, which 
produces these two effects. 

In the canto of the Pucelle, the Capilotade, 
Voltaire compares himself to Charles VII, be- 
cause the enemies of both were the faction of 
the parlementaires, the Jansenists, the convul- 
sionnaires of both epochs. That Voltaire always 
looked upon these people as his particular ene- 
mies is evident from his numerous publications 
against them. This seems to have been so from 
the earliest times that we have any knowledge 
of him. His designation for his elder brother, 
whom he certainly did not love, is son. jansen- 
iste de frere. He frequently calls them crazy, 
mad, capable of the crimes of the wretched 
Seide. He writes to Fleury (M. 36, p. 148; 
August 22, 1742) : " C'est une fatalite pour moi 
que les seuls hommes qui aient voulu troubler 
votre heureux ministere soient les seuls qui 
m' aient persecute, j usque-la que la cabale des 
convulsionnaires, c'est-a-dire ce qu'il y a de 
plus abject dans le rebut du genre humain, a 
obtenu la suppression injurieuse d'un ouvrage 
honore de votre approbation, et represente de- 
vant les premiers magistrats de Paris." Vol- 
taire indicates the application of his satire in 


the Pucelle to the Jansenists by making Saint 
Austin (or Augustin) the representative of the 
Parlement, of the friends of the mad King 
Charles, of the English usurpers, in the council 
of Heaven. He sings of the God of vengeance, 
of the exterminating angel, of twenty thousand 
Jews cut to pieces pour un veau, of Joaz killed 
by Josabad, son of Atrobad, et Atlialie, si me- 
chamment mise a mort par Joad. Saint Denis, 
on the other hand, celebrates the God of clem- 
ency, of love, and wins the prize. The treat- 
ment that Saint Augustin receives is like the 
treatment to which Itobad is subjected in 

" Austin rougit, il f nit en tapinois : 
Chacun en rit, le paradis le hue. 
Tel fut hue dans les murs de Paris 
Un pedant sec, a face de Thersite, 
Vil delateur, insolent hypocrite, 
Qui fut paye de haine et de mepris 
Quand il osa, dans ses phrases vulgaires, 
Fletrir les arts et condamner nos freres." 

There are some other correspondences between 
the reign of Charles VI and that of Louis XV 
to which attention should be called. During 
the early reign of Charles VI we meet with the 


Duke of Orleans whose character is quite sim- 
ilar to that of the Regent. Both are reproached 
for their debauchery, both are accused of plot-' 
ting against the reigning house. The question 
of succession was often raised in both periods. 
The mad King of Spain, Philip V, plotted to 
oust the Regent from the throne in the event of 
the death of Louis XV. During the madness 
of Charles VI the nation was plunged into the 
greatest misery. Two dauphins were dead, the 
third was only thirteen years old. Three par- 
ties formed in Paris, about like the three parties 
in Zadig, to dispute the throne. Charles VI 
formed suspicions of the fidelity of his wife, 
like those of Moabdar. In one of his lucid in- 
tervals he saw the Seigneur Boisbourdon com- 
ing out of the apartments of his wife. The 
King had him seized, put to torture, sewed up in 
a sack, in the manner of the typical Oriental 
despot, and thrown into the Seine. He did not 
attempt to poison the Queen, as Moabdar did; 
but he had her imprisoned, and it was her im- 
prisonment, like that of Astarte, which led to 
the most astonishing revolution since the days 
of Charlemagne (Essai sur les mceurs, Beuchot 
16, p. 387 ff.). It placed the crown of France 


on the head of the English King. Just as 
Moabdar's madness and the disorders attending 
it caused the people to believe him smitten of 
God, so the King of England proclaimed that 
the afflictions of the French marked the designs 
of Providence to place the crown on his head 
(Beuchot 16, p. 402). And if it is not the 
Queen, Isabelle of Bavaria, who marries the 
King of England, as Astarte marries Zadig, it 
is her daughter who brings to him France as a 
dowry; and who says daughter, in the House 
of Moab, says wife. Thus it is all one for Vol- 
taire's symbolism whether Marie Therese, of 
Bavaria, is the daughter or the wife of the 
Emperor Charles VI, just as it is all one in the 
case of the King Charles VI. 

The question at issue in the period of Charles 
VI, King of France, as in the case of Charles 
VI, Emperor, is the salic law on the one hand, 
and the Pragmatic Sanction on the other: the 
right of inheritance through the female line. 
The fact that the Dauphine, for whom Voltaire 
composed the Princesse de Navarre and Semi- 
ramis, was named Marie-Therese, like the 
daughter of Charles VI, must have aided Vol- 


taire's imagination in making himself, under 
the name of Zadig, her humble adorer. 

Aside from the similarity of motives which 
we find in these two epochs, there is another and 
not unimportant reason for believing that Vol- 
taire associated these characters under one 


symbol. The Epitre dedicatoire of Zadig is 
meant for the Marquise de Pompadour, who 
always wished to be considered the Agnes Sorel 
of her century. She even dressed up as a 
musketeer and followed the King to Flanders, 
about as Agnes is represented in the Pucelle, 
donning Jeanne's armor over Chandos' panta- 
loons. Now, this Epitre bears the date of 837 
of the Hegira. While Voltaire was not always 
exact in computing the corresponding dates of 
the Mohammedan and the Christian eras, he 
was never far wrong. He is not likely to have 
chosen this date without a good and sufficient 
reason. It would fall certainly in the period 
of the struggle of Charles VII for the throne 
of his ancestors, and would be, if Voltaire were 
exact in his computation, approximately the 
date of the triumphal entry of the King into 
Paris (1437). 



THE purpose of the present chapter is to de- 
termine the significance of Astarte for Voltaire's 

By virtue of the equations already made in 
the case of Moabdar, it is 'obvious that Astarte 
is the wife of Louis XV, the wife of Charles 
VI, King of France, and, as a result of the in- 
cest theme, the daughter of Charles VI, Em- 
peror. But what Astarte is for Moabdar does 
not explain what she is for Voltaire and for 

Zadig had loved before, as had Voltaire, and 
neither has any patience with the tender pas- 

Zadig's first experience is with the beautiful 
Semire, who is carried off by Orcan, or rather, 
who deserts Zadig when he is sorely wounded 
by Orcan, and herself yields to the ravisher. 

There is a good deal of personal satire in the 
episode of Semire and Orcan. In the first place, 


Voltaire satirizes the ladies of the court, les 
begueules titrees de la cour, as he calls them in 
his letter to Mme. de Bernieres (M. 33, p. 125), 
against whom Paris is inundated with chansons 
(M. 33, p. 89). That is the primary signifi- 
cance of the episode; Zadig suffers such a ter- 
rible caprice of a girl brought up at court. 

In the second place, Voltaire satirizes the 
noblemen. Orcan has neither the graces nor 
the wit of Zadig; he is vain, jealous and envious, 
persuaded that everything is permitted to him 
because he is the nephew of a minister. 

In the third place, he satirizes the doctors, 
Moliere's old hobby. Hermes could have cured 
Zadig if his wound had been in the right eye. 
The personal reference here is to Borelli, who 
claimed (M. 17, p. 224) that the left eye was 
much stronger than the right, although there 
were not wanting skillful physicians who took 
the part of the right eye against him. When 
the abscess breaks and heals of itself, Hermes 
writes a book to prove that Zadig ought not to 
have recovered. The elements of this satire are 
to be found in Voltaire's correspondence. At 
the time when he was trying to recover from his 
love for the Marechale de Villars by wrapping 


himself in a mantel of philosophy, he wrote to 
the Marquise de Mimeure for a plaster for le 
bouton qui lui est venu sur I' ceil. That is the 
starting point for the episode of Semire. Con- 
dorcet says that Voltaire always spoke of his 
love for the heautiful Marechale with regret, 
almost with remorse, because it took him from 
his work. It is her husband who writes to Vol- 
taire to be on his guard against Dr. Vinache 
(M. 33, p. 65), "quoique ses discours sedui- 
sants, 1'art de reunir Pinfluence des sept planetes 
avec les mineraux et les sept parties nobles du 
corps, et le besoin de trois ou quatre Javottes, 
donne de 1'admiration." It is also at the house 
of her sister, in the Chateau de Maisons, that 
Voltaire is stricken with small-pox. It was in 
reference to this malady of his that a long letter 
to Mme. du Chatelet's father was printed in the 
Mercure of December, 1T23 (M. 33, p. 100), 
in which Voltaire takes the doctors to task. 
They fail to realize that a man who recovers by 
taking a certain remedy may have recovered in 
spite of the remedy, in cases where the vital 
organs are not affected, since nature is the great 
restorer. They then treat all cases with the same 
remedy, failing to realize that every malady 


must be as different in different individuals as 
les traits de nos visages. 

Zadig is beaten by the satellites of Orcan, 
and then forsaken by Semire on account of the 
danger he is in of becoming blind in one eye. 
So Voltaire, when he thought of the marks left 
on his face by his terrible malady, feared the 
desertion of his fair lady (M. 10, p. 256; M. 
32, p. 399) : 

" Mais, Ciel ! quel souvenir vient iei me surprendre ! 
Cette aimable beaute qui m'a donne sa foi, 
Qui m'a jure toujours une amitie" si tendre, 
Daignera-t-elle encor jeter les yeux sur moit 


M'aurait-elle oublie? serait-elle volage? 

Que dis-je? malheureux! ou vais-je m'engagerf 

Quand on porte sur le visage 
D'un mal si redoute le fatal temoignage, 
Est-ce a 1'amour qu'il faut songerf " 

The poet calls upon the pitiless gods of the 
underworld not to cut short his days; they are 
devoted to his love, if she is constant. This 
trait suggests the interpretation of the name 
Orcan: he is the god of the under-world, who 
assailed Voltaire's life, and who took his love, 
Adrienne Lecouvreur. The personal applica- 


tion then becomes obvious. Voltaire had been 
assaulted by the Chevalier de Eohan-Chabot 
after having said, it is reported, that "he did 
not bear as great a name as the Chevalier, but 
he honored the one he bore." Voltaire may 
have referred to the meaning of the name of the 
Chevalier. Chabot means the Ore, i. e., Cha- 
bot = Orcan. Whether the marks on Voltaire's 
face are made by the canes of the "six coupe- 
jarrets du brave Chevalier de Eohan-Chabot," 
or by the malady of the god of the under-world 
is all one for Voltaire's symbolism; it is the 
devil in either case, Voltaire's first symbol of 
the author of evil in his novel. Orcan is a court 
devil, an aristocratic devil, protected by the 
noble house of Kohan, the head of which, Car- 
dinal Rohan, enjoyed the greatest distinction. 

Just what connection Adrienne Lecouvreur 
had with the episode is not known, but that 
she was involved in it is evident from the letter 
of the President Bouhier (M. 1, p. 304). The 
name Semire seems to have been chosen from 
Semiramis, the tragedy which Voltaire com- 
posed for the Dauphine. Voltaire often refers 
to actresses by the title roles of the plays in 
which they appear. At the time he was com- 


posing Semiramis the Dauphine died, although 
Voltaire (as in the episode of Semire), had ex- 
pected to die himself (M. 36, p. 466). Voltaire 
seems to have made the equivalence of Orcan, 
Chabot, Dauphin, which is justifiable liguistic- 
ally. Thus Semire became the bride of Orcan 
in whichever way you take it. 

There is no doubt that Voltaire loved Adri- 
enne Lecouvreur, if only on account of her tal- 
ent. He had to yield to more illustrious rivals, 
as is evident from a passage in the short story 
of the Comte de Boursoufle (M. 32, p. 447), 
and from the following verses (M. 32, p. 404) : 

" Recevez dans vos bras mes illustres rivaux' 
C'est ttn mal necessaire et je vous le pardonne" 

The desperate atrocity to which Voltaire had 
been subjected by Rohan-Chabot is, if anything, 
even greater than the malady of the small-pox 
from which Voltaire suffered. He seems to in- 
dicate this in the wording of the episode : " ... 
sa douleur le mit au bord du tombeau; il fut 
longtemps malade, mais enfin la raison Pemporta 
sur son affliction ; et 1'atrocite de ce qu'il eprou- 
vait servit meme a le consoler." There is cer- 
tainly no atrocity in being abandoned by one's 


mistress, as was Zadig; but there is no greater 
atrocity than to be assassinated by a cowardly 
nobleman and abandoned by one's friends, as 
was Voltaire in this experience. Immediately 
after it Voltaire wrote to Mme. de Bernieres 
(M. 33, p. 156) that he had been a I'extremite, 
and was only awaiting his recovery to abandon 
forever the court. Thus Semire is a symbol for 
the caprice of the court, un si cruel caprice d'une 
fille elevee a la cour, as Zadig expresses it. 
->. After this experience Zadig has enough of the 
court. " Puisque j'ai essuye un si cruel caprice 
d'une fille elevee a la cour," he said to himself, 
" il faut que j'epouse une citoyenne." He picks 
out Azora, " la plus sage et la mieux nee de la 
ville.") She proves, after a few weeks of do- 
mestic felicity, that she is quite willing to play 
the role of a second Matron of Ephesus. Cador, 
Zadig's dear friend, readily persuades her to 
cut off Zadig's nose in order to cure her new 
lover of a disorder of the spleen. 

Voltaire refers here, I think, to his experi- 
ence with Mile. Livry, a young actress who be- 
came his mistress, but soon transferred her pas- 
sion to his dear friend Genonville. Her life is 
like the adventures of a novel. She had to 


leave the Theatre-Frangais for some reason, ac- 
companied a troupe of actors to England, and 
became stranded there. The Marquis de Gou- 
vernet heard about her grace and modesty, 
offered her his hand in marriage, and was re- 
fused because her union with him would be a 
mesalliance. Voltaire speaks of the fortune 
which she won from lottery tickets (M. 33, p. 
135; Nov., 1724). That was a device of the 
Marquis to equalize their fortunes. He gave 
her the tickets and had a false drawing-list 
printed in which her tickets won a great sum. 
Voltaire often refers to her passion for his 
friend, as in the Pucelle, and in the following 
verses (M. 10, p. 245 f.) : 

" Toi, dont la delicatesse, 
Par un sentiment fort humain, 
Aima mieux ravir ma maitresse 
Que de la tenir de ma main." 

The conduct of his friend Genonville was re- 
peated by two other friends of Voltaire: Thie- 
riot, in the case of Mme. de Bernieres, and 
d'Argental, in the case of Mile. Lecouvreur. 
D'Argental even went so far as to wish to make 
the famous actress his wife. The name Cador 


is probably formed from the name d'Argental, 
on the analogy of Castor; Voltaire calls the 
brothers d'Argental and Pont-de-Veyle Castor 
and Pollux. Cador is a "golden" friend, as 
were also the two brothers d'Argenson, whose 
name may come under the symbolism. The 
name Azora is probably taken from the cant of 
the stage: appeler azor, to hiss. Besides being 
symbolic of Voltaire's relations to Mile. Livry, 
the episode embodies Voltaire's ideas of love in 
the drama. He had no use for the tender pas- 
sion, as is well known. 

The next stage in Voltaire's relations to the 
fair sex is represented by his Temple de I'Amitie, 
from which all have been driven except him and 
his amie. Friendship is the only passion of the 
sage, friendship and the love of letters. He 
writes to Cideville (M. 33, p. 403): "Les 
belles-lettres sont pour moi ce que les belles 
sont pour vous, elles sont ma consolation et le 
soulagement de mes douleurs." It is not love 
but friendship that retains him at the side of 
Mme. du Chatelet. Frederick has made fun of 
him for his attachment to her; he refused to 
believe that his relations were purely Platonic. 
Voltaire replies (M. 35, p. 564) : 


" Un ridicule amour n'embrase point mon ame, 
Cythere n'est point mon sej'our; 
Je n'ai point quitte votre adorable cour 
Pour soupirer en sot aux genoux d'une femme." 

Voltaire paid a noble tribute to his muse in 
the verses which he added to his fifth Discours 
en vers sur I'homme (Sur la nature du plaisir) : 

" Quand sur les bords du Mein deux ecumeurs bar- 

Des lois des nations violateurs avares, 
Deux fripons a brevets, brigands accredites, 
fipuisaient contre moi leurs laches cruaute"s, 
Le travail occupait ma fermete tranquille; 
Des arts qu'ils ignoraient leur antre fut Fasile. 
Ainsi le dieu des bois enflait ses chalumeaux, 
Quand le voleur Cacus enlevait ses troupeaux: 
II n'interrompit point sa douce melodic. 
Heureux qui jusqu'au temps du terme de sa vie, 
Des beaux-arts amoureux, peut cultiver leurs fruits. 
II brave ^injustice, il calme ses ennuis; 
II pardonne aux humains, il rit de leur delire, 
Et de sa main mourante il touche encor sa lyre." 

With this idea of his muse as the basis of 
his symbolism Voltaire can bring in allusions 
from a half dozen different personages. The 
Queen of Babylon is now Marie Leczinska, now 
Marie Therese, now Isabelle of Bavaria, now 
the Pompadour, who was Queen of Love in 


very truth, now Mme. du Chatelet, who was 
Voltaire's divinity and the symbol of his muse, 
etc. It seems to be part of Voltaire's sly inten- 
tion to make a sort of Anne of Austria out of 
the devout Marie Leczinska. A brief resume of 
his life as a courtier and his relations to the 
Pompadour and to his divine Emilie will be 
necessary to show the realistic basis of the vari- 
ous episodes of the novel. 

Voltaire was something of a courtier before 
his atrocious experience with the Chevalier de 
Rohan-Chabot. He writes from Fontainebleau 
(Sept. 17, 1725 ; M. 33, p. 148) to Mme. de 
Bernieres that he has prepared a little Divertisse- 
ment for the marriage of Marie Leczinska, but 
he intends to wait until all the fracas is over in 
order to pay his court to her. He is going to 
dedicate CEdipe to her also (which would enable 
him to bring her under the incest theme of the 
house of Moab). A little later he writes (M. 
33, p. 151) to Thieriot: " J'ai ete ici tres-bien 
regu de la reine. Elle a pleure a Marianne, elle 
a ri a I'Indiscret; elle me parle souvent; elle 
m'appelle mon pauvre Voltaire." A fool would 
be content with that, he adds, but that is only 
a stepping stone for something more substantial. 


In the dedicatory verses which he sent to the 
Queen with Marianne (M. 10, p. 259) he com- 
pares her to Pallas Athene, protectrice of the 
arts (i. e., she is his muse). She has the bear- 
ing and the graces of the goddess. Voltaire 
apologizes for the seeming impropriety of send- 
ing to her a tragedy, the theme of which deals 
with the brutal jealousy of Herod, since she is 
the delight of the King's heart. Some charac- 
teristics of Herod and Marianne may well have 
found their way into the King and Queen of 
Babylon. In Voltaire's realistic comedy of the 
Envieux Cleon and Hortense are very similar 
to Herod and Marianne. 

It is well known that Voltaire, who had 
lived in the " plus grand monde " up to the time 
of his forced voyage to England, lived thereafter 
with only a few chosen friends. His life with 
Mme. du Chatelet at Cirey was one of profound 
seclusion, troubled only by the machinations of 
various envious persons, of whom Rousseau and 
Desfontaines were the chiefs. Cirey was for 
him the terrestrial paradise, I'asile des beaux- 
arts, as he expressed it in the verses which he 
had engraved over the portal. Then came the 
period of his residence at Brussels, his trip to 


Berlin in the service of the French ministry of 
foreign affairs, his assistance to Frederick in the 
publication of the Anti-Machiavel. He is now 
the satellite of Venus (i. e., of Mme. du Chate- 
let). Frederick writes him (M. 36, p. 181) : 
"Vous circulez a 1'entour de cette planete et 
suivez le cours que cet astre decrit de Paris a 
Bruxelles, et de Bruxelles a Cirey." 

On the death of Fleury Voltaire entertained 
well-founded hopes of being elected to his place 
in the French Academy (M. 36, p. 187) : " Le roi 
m'a donne son agrement pour etre de 1' Academic 
en cas qu'on veuille de moi. Je veux qu'on f asse 
succeder un pauvre diable au premier ministre." 
That Voltaire counted greatly on getting elected 
to the vacancy left by Fleury is evident from his 
letter to d'Argental (M. 36, p. 190), in which 
he says that his life depends upon it. He had 
enough " science," but not enough " religion," 
as he expresses it in the short story of the Comte 
de Boursoufle; Maurepas and Mirepoix, Lan- 
guet, Archbishop of Sens, and the Cardinal de 
Rohan, Archbishop of Strasburg, the griffon, 
and the cheval du roi des rois et la chienne de la 
reine prevented his election. Persecuted on all 
sides (M. 36, p. 195), he wishes at least to have 

A8TABTE 127 

the public in his favor, i. e., by his numerous 
dramas which he composed in this period. Such 
triumphs as those of Alzire, Zaire, and espe- 
cially Merope, are symbolized in the Combats 
in Zadig; it is a joust with all claimants to the 
laurel crown. His enemies steal from him the 
reward which was his due, as does Itobad in the 
novel. Voltaire writes to d'Argental (M. 36, 
p. 196): "Deux hommes puissants se sont 
reunis pour m'arracher un agrement frivole, la 
seule recompense que je demandais apres trente 
annees de travail." The ignorant, opulent and 
rascally " cheval " de Mirepoix can not be paci- 
fied even by Voltaire's confession of orthodoxy ; 
he is as cruel as he is ambitious and avaricious 
(M. 36, p. 211) : "Le premier benifice qu'il a 
eu apres la mort du cardinal vaut pres de quatre- 
vingt mille livres de rente ; le premier apparte- 
ment qu'il a eu, a Paris, est celui de la reine, et 
tout le monde s'attend a voir, au premier jour, 
sa tete, que votre Majeste appelle si bien une 
tete d'ane, ornee d'une calotte rouge apportee de 
Rome." Voltaire consoles himself, however; 
the Pope may give him a cardinal's hat, but he 
can not give him a head. 

In order to become an elu in the French Acad- 


emy and in le saint paradis, equivalent terms 
for Voltaire, he dedicates his tragedy of Ma- 
homet to the Pope, after having expressed his 
determination to dedicate it to Frederick; it 
was all the same thing, after all, as will be seen 
in the chapter on Arbogad. At the same time, 
after the forced resignation of Amelot (in 
1744), through whom Voltaire had carried on 
his negotiations with Frederick, and who was 
succeeded by Voltaire's friend and protector, 
the Marquis d'Argenson, the poet intrigued at 
the French court as well as at the court of Rome. 
He considered himself, in fact, the favorite at 
three courts : at France, at Rome, and at Berlin. 
The King is content with him, Mirepoix can 
not harm him now about the griffon, and he is 
on such excellent terms with His Holiness, that 
he can say (M. 36, p. 357) : " C'est a present 
aux devots a me demander ma protection pour 
ce monde-ci et pour 1'autre." In other words, 
he is le ministre, as in Zadig. He is over- 
whelmed with the l)ontees du roi (M. 36, p. 
358; May 3, 1745). He pays assiduous court 
to the new Queen of Love, Mme. d'Etiolles, nee 
Poisson, whom the King had taken from her 
husband about as the Seigneur Orcan took the 


wife of the fisherman in the novel. After the 
battle of Fontenoy Voltaire actually compares 
himself to a minister of State (M. 36, p. 366) : 
"La tete me tourne; je ne sais comment faire 
avec les dames, qui veulent que je lone leurs 
cousins et leurs greluchons. On me traite 
comme un ministre; je fais des mecontents." 

There appeared at this time a number of at- 
tacks on Voltaire in prose and verse (M. 36, p. 
372). He is particularly concerned about the 
rivalry of the poet Hoi, le cheval Roi, as Vol- 
taire calls him. The Queen protects him, and 
is not well disposed to Voltaire, who had been 
paying too much court to the King's mistress, 
another chienne de la reine. The time is past 
when she called Voltaire mon pauvre Voltaire, 
and showed so markedly her disapproval of the 
claque against Marianne in the pre-English 
period. Voltaire feels that he must pay his 
court to her, at least indirectly. He uses the 
good offices of Moncrif, lecteur de la reine, whose 
enmity to Roi was greater than his friendship 
to Voltaire. Through him Voltaire lets the 
Queen know (M. 36, p. 374), that the Temple 
de la Oloire and Voltaire's incense is worth 
more than the maussaderie of the Chevalier 


de Saint-Michel, -who has joined his voice to that 
of the Abbe de Bicetre (i. e., Desfontaines, 
author of Avis a M. de Voltaire, sur la sixieme 
edition de sa Bataille de Fontenoy). The 
medallions of the Pope, the impression of the 
Bataille de Fontenoy at the Louvre, and other 
marks of favor which Voltaire has received or 
is to receive, will be the best reply that Voltaire 
can make to such men as Desfontaines (M. 36. 
p. 390). 

Then came the final struggle to get into the 
French Academy. The first reference to it is 
probably the three lines to Mme. d'Argental (M. 
36, p. 410; end of 1745): "Impossible, im- 
possible. Mais il faut absolument que 1'autre 
ange vienne dans mon enfer. Vraiment, j'ai de 
grandes choses a lui dire." The preliminaries 
of peace have just been signed at Turin (M. 36, 
p. 412), so that the historical event, presaging 
the close of the war, fits into the symbolism of 
the coming triumphs of Voltaire and of Zadig. 
The only enemy that he has now is Roi, for he 
has appeased all court and clerical hostility. 
Roi has taken on the appearance of virtue to 
insinuate himself into the good graces of the 
Queen (M. 36, p. 431) : C'est la seule maniere 


de la tromper. Voltaire wishes to dislodge him 
from this favor by taking on the appearance of 
orthodoxy; that is the only way to deceive her. 
Roi is a monster of hell (M. 36, p. 422), qui 
pretend qu'on lui a rendu la lyre, et qui fait 
imprinter le libelle diffamatoire le plus punis- 
sable contre I'Academie et contre moi. The ref- , 
erence is to Hoi's libellous Discours prononce a 
la porte de I'Academie franc.aise and the Trir 
omphe poetique, a sort of burlesque Odyssey 
of all Voltaire's trials and tribulations during 
his long career as a man of letters, including 
the beatings which he had received. Here is 
plainly the character of Itobad, who claims to 
be, not merely the poet Roi, but roi de Baby- 
lone, qui pretend qu'on lui a rendu la lyre, i. e., 
who claims to be the husband of Astarte. 

After Voltaire's triumph, his entrance into 
the Academy par la grande porte (i. e., by 
twenty-eight out of twenty-nine votes cast), he 
bends every effort to discover the publishers 
and distributors of the satires of Roi. That 
leads him back to his old enemy Desfontaines, 
from whom Louis Travenol had received them. 
Thus they become the echo of the Voltairomanie. 
By the very nature of these libels, with their 


enumeration of all the evils that had befallen 
Voltaire during his chequered life and their 
ironical references to his poetic triumphs and 
his futile attempts to get into the Academy, 
Voltaire is led, it seems to me, to compose his 
version of his Triomphe poetique; that is, to 
compose his novel Zadig. Here it is not the 
satirist who presents the facts of his life, but 
the " Truth-teller," the "Witness-bearer." "le 
temoin fidele et authentique." But Voltaire does 
not compose with the crude art of his rivals ; it 
takes no art, in fact, to compose a libel. But 
r*it is the climax of art to give an actual, con- 
temporaneous historical background to his fic- 
tions, to make these fictions represent the actual 
experiences through which he had himself 
passed, and to raise the whole out of the domain 
of the personal, the individual, into the realm 
of the typical, the universal, and all in accord- 
I ance with a philosophic tendency. 

Some features of Voltaire's experiences after 
his election to the Academy may have found 
their way into his novel. To put down this up- 
start, who threatened to eclipse all the court 
poets, jealous voices and mercenary pens were 
active aa never before. In order to get him 


away from the court it was necessary to neutral- 
ize the favor of the Pompadour. The old poet 
Crebillon was put forward as the Sophocles of the 
century. Finally, towards the end of 1747, Mme. 
du Chatelet, while playing cards at the Queen's 
table, lost an enormous sum. Voltaire's incon- 
siderate remark: Vous jouez avec des fripons, 
caused the poet and his Emilie to make a pre- 
cipitate retreat from Fontainebleau. Voltaire 
took refuge with the Duchess of Maine at Sceaux, 
where he remained in the strictest seclusion, cor- 
responding with Mme. du Chatelet only in a 
roundabout way, and by special courier, until 
her appearance one day relieved him of his en- 
forced confinement (cf. Desnoiresterres, Vol- 
taire a la cvur, p. 137, 139, 141). 

Voltaire was often obliged to make sudden 
and hurried flights, in which he was separated 
from his divine Emilie, as at the time of the 
persecution for the Lettres philosophiques, and 
later for the Mondain, so that the scene de- 
scribed above could only favor his symbolism, in 

fit is thought that Zadig was composed tt 
Sceaux during Voltaire's confinement 
Desnoiresterres (op. cii., p. 146 f.) shows that 


Zadig (or rather Memnon, the name under 
which the novel first appeared) could not have 
been published before 1748, as he did not leave 
Sceaux until the last days of December, 1747. 
If the first edition, that of Memnon, is dated 
1747, it is not because it was put on sale in that 
year, but because it was composed in that year 
and sent, perhaps, to the publishers before the 
close of the year. It is not unusual for Voltaire 
to antedate his works in this manner. Long- 
champs tells a strange story about the publica- 
tion of Zadig. He says that the work was 
given, in two different sections, to two differ- 
ent publishers, and the printed copies then bound 
together by Voltaire in order to give the first 
copies to his friends, before the general public 
should receive them (cf . Desnoiresterres, op. tit., 
p. 146 f.). There seems to me to be a basis 
of truth in this story, to be accounted for by 
Voltaire's pun on the names. Memnon = meme 
nom, i. e., it is the same as Zadig. The com- 
mentators have dismissed the statement of 
Longchamps, on the ground that the first edi- 
tion of the work was not called Zadig, but 
Memnon, whereas Voltaire's secretary speaks of 
Zadig. When he says then, that Zadig was 


printed in two different sections, he probably 
had in mind the version Memnon and the ver- 
sion Zadig, which, by a pun, probably well 
known to him at the time but which he had later 
forgotten, were really the same work. 

In this connection it should be said that the 
little skit Memnon, ou la Sagesse, is misdated 
in all the editions of the novels. Beuchot thinks 
that it was composed in 1750, but the letter of 
Stanislas to Voltaire (M. 36, p. 569 ; Jan. 31, 
1749) speaks of Memnon and of Zadig, and in 
terms which can not apply to Zadig under the 
title of Memnon. Besides, there would be no 
object in sending to Stanislas at that late date 
both the old Memnon (the first edition of Zadig) 
and the same work, with some additions, under 
the title of Zadig. 

"f The composition of Zadig at Sceaux is im- 
portant to bear in mind. I It was the Duchess 
of Maine who induced Voltaire to treat the same 
subject as Crebillon le barbare, to avenge Cicero 
for the insults to which the old Tragique sub- 
jected him in making him le Mercure de sa fille. 
Voltaire could not forgive Crebillon for two 
things : first, for his refusal of an approbation to 
Mahomet, and second, his usurpation of the 


favor of the Pompadour. That is why, in view 
of Voltaire's jousts with him in all the subjects 
which he had treated, Zadig is so appropriately 
indicated to the Pompadour, and it accounts 
alsoibr the burlesque form of approbation which 
prefaced the first editions of the novel: "Je 
soussigne, qui me suis fait passer pour savant, 
et meme pour homme d'esprit, ai lu ce inanu- 
scrit, que j'ai trouve, malgre moi, curieux, 
amusant, moral, philosophique, digne de plaire 
a ceux meme qui hai'ssent les romans. Ainsi je 
1'ai decrie, et j'ai assure M. le cadi-lesquier que 
c'est un ouvrage detestable." The cadirlesquier 
is the commander-in-chief of half of the Turk- 
ish empire (there being one for European Tur- 
key and one for Asiatic Turkey). The refer- 
ence is probably to the garde des sceaux, and 
more particularly to the Chancellor d'Aguesseau 
(who was garde des sceaux), whose severity for 
the Elements de la philosophic de Newton (M. 
1, p. 213) Voltaire could not easily forgive, and 
whose severity for novels with heretical person- 
ages could only arouse Voltaire's scorn and 

The link of association between Mme. du 
Chatelet and Mme. de Pompadour, aside from 


Voltaire's relations to both "divinities," is to 
be found, I think, in a pun. Astarte, as Vol- 
taire tells us in the Avertissement de Samson, 
was deesse de Syrie; Mme. du Chatelet was 
deesse de Cirey, and therefore equivalent to the 
Pompadour. The Syrians worshipped a pois- 
son; so did Voltaire, Louis XV, and all the 
courtiers, for the Pompadour was Mile. Pois- 
son. Voltaire's enemies, especially the Envieux, 
had attempted to get him into trouble with 
Mme. du Chatelet, as well as with the Queen 
and the Pompadour, j The relations of the poet 
to Mme. du Chatelet are symbolized in the 
comedy of the Envieux about as they appear in 
the novel for Zadig and Astarte. Ariston, who 
figures Voltaire, is the friend of Hortense, who 
figures Mme. du Chatelet. Cleon, representing 
M. du Chatelet, is provincial governor, of a 
tyrannical and brutally jealous disposition, like 
Moabdar in Zadig. The Envieux takes advan- 
tage of this situation to arouse in Cleon sus- 
picions like those of Moabdar. Ariston is 
warned to flee, and is about to be seized, when 
a fortunate confession of the accomplice of the 
Envieux clears the atmosphere. The publica- 
tion of the Mondain, with its reference to the 


terrestrial paradise at Cirey, the dedication of 
Alzire to Mme. du Chatelet, and the aspersions 
of Desfontaines (who had made similar accu- 
sations against Voltaire in reference to Mme. de 
Bernieres), as indeed the mere residence of 
Voltaire with the amiable Marquise, gave rise to 
suspicions of a relation quite different from an 
innocent Platonic friendship. 

The situation must not, however, be taken too 
literally ; Voltaire simply wished to give a dra- 
matic presentation of the malignant activity of 
the Envieux, whose attacks did not spare per- 
sonal honor. The same situation reappears in 
Zadig: it is Itobad who steals Zadig's white 
armor, and puts his green armor in its place. 
In his earliest satire, Le Bourbier, Voltaire had 
represented these brigands of the forest of Par- 
nassus throwing mud at the great men of let- 
ters, i. e., besmirching their reputation. 

Astarte then is primarily Voltaire's muse. 
His love for her is his love for the belles-lettres. 
He first makes her acquaintance at the time of 
\ the Regency. Although she is Queen, she is 
at the same time the slave of a despot. The 
desire to possess her favors in full, i. e., the 
x, desire for liberty of speech for the man of 


letters, brings disaster upon her and her lover: 
c'est I' avilissement des beaux-arts et le servi- 
tude de rhomme de lettres of which Voltaire so 
often complains. The type of literature repre- 
sented by the inspiration of Missouf takes her 
place. The folly and madness of war, droit des 
brigands que nous nommons heros, complete her 
degradation, whether it is caused by the warring 
of kings or of literary men. But there is no 
doubt about her final triumph and her union 
with one of the Immortals, i. e. } not merely a 
member of the French Academy, but an author 
whose works will live for seons of time. 

We meet with precisely the same symbolism 
in Candide. Voltaire sought at Frederick's 
court the freedom of thought which was refused 
him in France. The burning of the Akdkia 
was enough to cause him to flee that country for 
ever. Cunegonde is comparable in every re- 
spect to Astarte ; it is the satire and the personal 
application that account for any differences in 
the two characters. When Voltaire arrived on 
the shores of Lake Leman he would have pre- 
ferred to live the quiet life of a country gentle- 
man; he did not want Cunegonde any more. 
He took her only to spite the young baron 


Thunder-ten-tronckh. So Voltaire continued his 
attacks, or rather redoubled them, against the 
symbol of intolerance, less from love of letters 
than from hatred of persecution. 



ARIMAZE, the Envious, is one of the charac- 
ters of Zadig which shows prima facie evidence 
that Voltaire had his own life and its experi- 
ences as the basis of his novel. There is no 
epithet in his correspondence with which he is 
so prodigal ; all his enemies are des envieux et 
des ingrats. His comedy of the Envieux, his 
Ode sur I' Ingratitude, as well as his Discours 
sur I'Envie (one of the Discours en vers sur 
I'homme), are sufficient evidence of a personal / 
application of the episode of Zadig to his envi- 
ous detractors in general, and to Desfontaines, 
Rousseau, and Roi in particular. 

What is the meaning of the symbol? Ari- 
maze is the Arimane of the Magians, the evil 
principle, the devil. The devil is represented 
as a fallen angel, who rebelled against God 
from envy. Arimaze is described under the 
traits of the evil one. " Vis-a-vis de sa maison \ 
demeurait Arimaze, personnage dont la mechante 


ame etait peinte sur sa grossiere physionomie. 
II etait ronge de fiel et bouffi d'orgueil, et pour 
comble, c'etait un bel esprit ennuyeux." He is 
represented as distorting and perverting every- 
thing that Zadig does. Besides, Voltaire could 
not well lay his scene among the ancient Magians 
without some such character. It afforded him 
an excellent opportunity to show the parallelism 
between the Zoroastrian cult and Christianity, 
and to explain, by the creation of a symbolic 
character, all such allegories as the good and the 
evil principle, God and the devil, good angel 
and bad, etc. 

Apart from these considerations Voltaire was 
persecuted by people whose God was more like 
our conception of the devil than anything else. 

This persecution began after Voltaire's re- 
turn from England with the publication of 
the Lettres philosophiques, in one of which he 
attacked Pascal on the subject of the fall of 
man. Voltaire's attack on the Jansenists is 
due to his occupation with the philosophy 
of the .English Optimists. Voltaire embraced 
this philosophy in its great features; he says 
that Pope's Essay on Man is a poetic repre- 
sentation of his Thoughts on Pascal. In so 


far as this philosophy did not include the fall 
of man and did not lead people to believe that 
things were all right for man in a state of so- 
ciety and not only need not but could not be 
changed, Voltaire embraced it heartily. Let 
me outline the main features of this philosophy 
as Voltaire conceived them. 

In the first place, it proved that man is as he 
always has been, a creature subject to death, 
like every other created thing; for an immortal 
man, except in a symbolic sense, was a contra- 
diction in terms. It was the height of folly, 
absurdity and madness to imagine that man was 
a beautiful creature once, in a place where there 
was no evil, until he ate an apple, whereupon 
God kicked him out of paradise. Pascal con- 
tended that the Biblical narrative of the fall of 
man must be true, because it alone explained 
the astonishing contradictions in man. Voltaire 
replied that the Androgynes o'^lato, the good 
and evil principle of the Magians, Osiris and 
Typhon among the Egyptians, Prometheus and 
Pandora among the Greeks, etc., offered similar 
explanations. That was no proof of the verity 
of religion. It was just as foolish to offer these 
explanations for the evil in the world as it 


would be to say of horses, for example, that 
they were beautiful and good and had no work 
to do until one of them took it into his head to 
eat some oats, whereupon all horses were con- 
demned to a life of suffering and torment. If 
man is necessarily mortal, it is but natural that 
he should be crushed if a boulder should fall 
upon him, that he should be killed if the light- 
ning struck him, that he should be drowned if 
he fell into the water and could not swim and 
there were no one to aid himj For God, then, 
there was no mal physique. There was physical 
suffering, to be sure, but that was a different 
.^thing, a necessary consequence of man's state-_ 
j^p-^/dof-being-man, exactly comparable to the phys- 
ical suffering of all the other animals from the 
ea to the mammoth. 

In the second place, man is endowed, like 
all the other animals, with needs, and hence 
with passions. Passion means, etymologically, 
suffering, because there is no feeling-of-the- 
lack-of-a-thing without the suffering occa- 
sioned by that lack, the absence, of the 
thing desirecLj Thus man, without passions, 
as depicted in the paradisiacal state, is a con- 
tradiction in terms, and must always have been 


so. Man is endowed of necessity with passions, 
otherwise he would be not-man, would be an 


entirely different order of creation. Qod has 
given^jus two fine main-springs of our__being : 
passions to makfi us act T and reason to control 
our passions L self-love to enable " t 

9ur being riH strive fpr mir wejl-being, and 
pjtv," bienyeillance^ to keep us^fron^inflicting 
needless injury on our fellow beings and to in- 
cline us to aid them. Thus there is for God 
no mat moral; man could not be made on a 
better plan. There is moral suffering, to be 
sure, just as there is physical suffering, but 
that is an inevitable consequence of man's 

Voltaire's opponents, the Jansenists, with 
Racine fils and Rousseau and his associate Des- 
fontaines at their head, together with the old 
Bishop of Mirepoix, seemed to consider that 
Voltaire was the apologist of chance, "le has- 
ard.^ Voltaire was not, however; the word is 
senseless, he says (M. 23, p. 177). Certainly, 
a man who falls into the river because he ven- 
tured out on a broken bridge did not fall "by 
chance," any more than a man who threw him- 
self from the top of a tower would be killed " by 


chance." There is no such thing as " 
everything is in accordance with eternal laws. 
The difference between Voltaire's philosophy on 
the one hand, and that of the Jansenists, and, 
in general, of the Christians, on the other, is 
the assigning of motives-of-the-divinity to all 
that is. The man who aims at the heart of an 
innocent fellow-being does so, to be sure, in ac- 
cordance with, because not contrary to, divine 
laws; but to say with the partisans of absolute 
fatality, whether among the Jansenists or among 
the Mohammedans, that it is God who strikes 
by their hands, who pillages, burns, kills, steals, 
rapes, through their humble ministry, what is 
that but worshipping the devil ? And Voltaire 
does not hesitate to speak the word in his Dis- 
cours en vert sur I'homme: 

"Let tristes partisans de ce dogme effroyable 
Diraient-ils rien de plus s'ils adoraient le diablef " 

This exposition belongs more properly under 
the chapter on the Angel Jesrad, but it is neces- 
sary here in order to show why Voltaire em- 
bodied his characterization of his persecutors 
under the symbol of the devil of the ancient 


Now, for Voltaire's enemies, the man who 
proved the existence of God but denied the fall 
of man was an atheist; he sapped the founda- 
tions of Christianity, for, if there was no fall 
of man, there was no necessity for redemption, 
and the mission of Jesus Christ was an impos- 
ture born of madness and stupidity. To combat 
Pascal, with his premise of a man-without-pas- 
sions, into whose body the devil entered and who 
goes about the world like a raging lion seeking 
whom he may devour, was to confess oneself an 
atheist. To write the Mondain, proving that 
the terrestrial paradise was in the present siecle 
de fer rather than in the fabled age ffor, was to 
advocate atheism. To say, as did Voltaire, 
that God could have given the faculty of thought 
to matter in certain organization, just as matter 
is organized to have sensations, was to deny the 
existence of the soul independent of the body, 
and hence to confess oneself an atheist. For, 
be it always remembered, the religious fanatics 
of all times and of all lands, have been blinded 
by this fallacious belief : If you do not believe 
in my God, you do not believe in any God. 

Kow what does Voltaire do in Zadigf He 
gives us, in his own way, the various conceptions 


of the devil: he is Orcan, Arimaze, the Prince 
d'Hyrcanie, Cletofis, Arbogad, Itobad, and 
finally, the Angel Jesrad. Each devil has his 
particular characteristics, his particular field of 
activity, like the characterization by Calmet (M. 
17, p. 434), or that of Le Sage, in the Diable 
boiteux. Orcan is the court devil; Arimaze is 
the devil of Parnassus; the Prince d'Hyrcanie 
is either the Prince of the Hyrcinian forests, 
i. e., the Prince of darkness, or he is the north- 
wind, the typhoon; Cletofis is Asmodeus. 

By what association of ideas did Voltaire 
make Arimaze the devil of the Republic of Let- 
ters? It is my theory that he read into the 
name Ariniane the significance of un ane qui 
rime, a poetaster, and that Arimaze is its equiva- 
lent, i. e., that -aze, from asinus, represents -ane, 
for ane. My purpose is to show, (1), the readi- 
ness of Voltaire to see the connotation of ane 
in any syllable fairly like it, and (2), the same 
significance for -aze. Then I shall show in 
what way he applied the epithet to Rousseau, 
Desfontaines, and Roi. 

One of the earliest illustrations of the conno- 
tation of ane in a similar syllable is found in a 
letter to Thieriot (M. 33, p. 87 ; early in 1723) : 


"Je m'en retourne ce soir a la Riviere (i. e., 
Riviere-Bourdet, residence of Mme. la presi- 
dente de Bernieres, near Rouen), pour partager 
mes soins entre une dnesse et Marianne." Vol- 
taire seems to be punning on the final syllable 
of Marianne. 

Boyer signed himself one. (for ancien) eveque 
de Mirepoix, which gave Voltaire his ane de 

Freron, author of the Annee litteraire, is 
dubbed the ane litteraire. 

The Rescrit de I'Empereur de la Chine, a 
satire on Jean Jacques Rousseau and Mauper- 
tuis, is dated the first day of the month of Hi 
Han (i. e., the bray of the ass, equivalent to 
April Fool). 

The Extrait de la sacree congregation de Vin- 
quisition de Rome' (M. '23, p. 464) is signed: 
Coglione-Coglionaccio, cardinal-president. Et 
plus bos (these words appear in the signature 
to indicate the obscene allusion in the names) 
Cazzo-Culo, secretaire du Saint-Office. 

Voltaire's Lettre de Demad (M. 24, p. 91), 
like the Rescrit de I'Empereur de la Chine, is 
dated April 1, but the Hi Han of the latter is 
replaced by Zastrou. 


The allusions are evidently to the dne and 
asinus as a phallic animal. The Pucelle is ade- 
quate illustration of this. Besides the ane aile 
of Saint Denis we have the muleteer, metamor- 
phosed into an ass, and serving, (1) to trans- 
form the passionateless "virgin" Corisandre 
into a voluptuous matron, and (2) to minister 
to the lust of Hermaphrodix in his double qual- 
ity of man and woman. 

That Voltaire should see the connotation of 
rimer, rimailler in Arimaze is not surprising 
to one who notes his fondness for a pun. Some 
illustrations of this habit may well be in place 

The French Resident at Geneva, M. Hennin, 
was involved in the dissensions of the little Re- 
public. Voltaire refers to the civil war of 
Geneva as la guerre d' Hennin, i. e., la guerre 
des nains. 

Vade, the name of a writer of short-stories, is 
one of the names assumed by Voltaire. He 
puns on it as though it were Latin : vade retro; 
vade mecum. He entitles his work published 
under that name, from a pun on it: Fadaises. 

A fellow by the name of Coge, who, with Ri- 
ballier, headed the opposition against Marmon- 


tel's Belisaire, in which the author dared to 
assert that the great and noble men of antiquity 
were not burning in hell, is apostrophized as 
Coge pecus: Collect your flock (i. e., your horde 
of persecutors, your herd of sheep, asses, swine, 

Freron is a frelon. French frelon = English 
wasp. He appears under the latter name in the 


Morellet, one of the staunch defenders of the 
philosophical party, is urged on to more vigor- 
ous attacks by a pun on his name: Mords-les! 

Clement, successor of Desfontaines, is not 
Clement Marot, but Clement Maraud. 

Omer Joly de Fleury, who assailed the En- 
cyclopedie and its authors, is neither Homere, 
nor joli, nor fleuri. The next step in Voltaire's 
association of ideas is that he is a thorn without 
the flower, just as Mirepoix is a cheval without 
a head. He is therefore called Acanthos: flos 
espinosa, a thorny shrub. 

The last illustration is similar to the Akakia. 
I have never seen it mentioned that Maupertuis 
himself gave occasion to Voltaire to form this 
name. In his Lettres sur les progres des sci- 
ences, Maupertuis said that he was willing to 


publish these reveries provided the reader took 
them sans malice. He evidently did not know 
Voltaire. Because Maupertuis had said some 
foolish things about doctors, Voltaire makes a 
doctor take up the cudgels for his profession. 
How appropriate to take the name of a doctor of 
Frangois I er ! (i. e., Voltaire's doctor, as Fran- 
QOIS Arouet). But sans malice is not the only 
connotation in the name. The AJcakia is like 
the Acanthos: it is of the prickly species, from 
which is extracted something like the poix resine 
by which Maupertuis would arrive at the age of 
the Biblical patriarchs, or that of the inhabitants 
of Eldorado. It is also a word like that applied 
to the philosophers: Cacouacs, the "bad" peo- 
ple; Akakia is "against bad people," "against 
badness," a remedy for evil humors, then, by ex- 
tension, the good doctor who purges Maupertuis 
of his evil humours, like Diafoirus of the 
Malade imaginaire. 

How did Voltaire associate' Rousseau, Des- 
fontaines, and the poet Roi under the symbol 
of Arimaze ? 

The obvious association is their character as 
Envieux, but there are other reasons. It was 
Voltaire's uniform practice to get the inspira- 


tion for his satire from the writings of his ene- { 
mies. " I avenged myself on Kousseau by quot- c f p| 
ing his verses," he says. That he studied the 
works of Rousseau is evident from a number of 
references throughout his correspondence and 
some parallels which I shall point out. Refer- 
ring to the Enfant prodigue he writes to Cide- 
ville (M. 34, p. 183 f.): "J'ai fait cet enfant 
pour repondre a une partie des impertinentes 
epitres de Rousseau, oil cet auteur des A'ieux 
chimeriques et des plus mauvaises pieces de 
theatre que nous ayons, ose donner des regies 
sur la comedie. J'ai voulu faire voir a ce doc- 
teur flamand que la comedie pouvait tres-bien 
reunir 1'interet et le plaisant." The A'ieux 
chimeriques of Rousseau is based on the associa- 
tion of names by similarity in sound. Galba- 
non, one of the characters, is explained as c'est 
comme qui dirait nom de Galba. The Comtesse 
de Critognac traces her ancestry back to a noble 
Auvergnac, mentioned in Caesar's Commen- 
taries. The Jew Esdras blossoms out as the 
noble Adramon. Dorante traces his ancestry 
back to Dorus, son of Doris and Jupiter, King 
of the Dorians (CEuvres de Jean-Baptiste Rous- 
seau, Nouvelle edition, 1743, Vol. 3, p. 7 ff.). 


What more natural than that the " malin" 
Voltaire should trace Rousseau's ancestry back 
to the devil ? 

Rousseau defends his comedy against the 
Abbe d'Olivet (op. cit., p. 361), who had criti- 
cised his play on names as contrary to reality. 
He expresses surprise that the Abbe has not 
found the original of the Comtesse de Critognac 
in Paris, as it the most common thing in the 
world for people to seek their origin in the simi- 
larity of names more far-fetched than those of 
his comedy seem to be. " C'est de quoi M. Le 
Laboureur, qu'on vient de reimprimer, se plaint 
en une infinite d'endroits de ses additions, et 
pour peu qu'on ait lu de livres de genealogies, 
on y trouvera des originaux d'extravagance plus 
extraordinaires que tout ce que j'ai pu imaginer 
dans ma copie. Cela est si vrai que la plus grande 
partie des bons mots de la piece que vous avez 
lue, sont pris de contes que j'ai ou'i faire autre- 
fois a la cour, de la feue Marechale de . . . , 
de la vieille Marquise de . . . , et d'autres ; et si 
vous en doutez, vous n'avez qu'a mettre votre 
amie Mad. de Castelnau sur le chapitre de cette 
premiere, vous en reconnaitrez plusieurs, et vous 
verrez que ce n'est point par le defaut d'origi- 
naux que la piece peche." 



WHAT is the significance of the name and the 
episode of Arbogad? Gad, in Hebrew, means 
God and also robber. How can God be a rob- 
ber? How can a robber be God? And what 
has Arbo- to do with the name? How can a 
robber be the God of the trees, or God be the 
robber of the trees ? And why does not the God- 
robber, or the robber-God, live among the treea 
of which he is the robber or the God, or both, 
instead of living on the confines of Syria and 
Ardbie Petree? 

It is not possible that Voltaire is composing 
here without a purpose; there is too much 
method in his madness : the episode is too clear 
cut, too natural, too well-wrought, and, in addi- 
tion, it bears too strong a resemblance to other 
variations on the theme of brigandage in Vol- 
taire's works, as Martinguerre in the 'Pucelle, 
Vanderdendur and Thunder-ten-tronckh in 
Candide, and the brigandage of literature 


throughout the poet's correspondence. The epi- 
sode should not be dismissed offhand as one of 
Voltaire's caprices ; on the contrary, it deserves 
to be investigated with the utmost care. Let us, 
therefore, consider the episode as the author 
gives it. 

This is the episode (M. 21, p. 71 ff.) : "En 
arrivant aux frontieres qui separent 1'Arabie 
Petree de la Syrie, comme il passait pres d'un 
chateau assez fort, des Arabes armes en sorti- 
rent. II se vit entoure ; on lui criait : ' Tout ce 
que vous avez nous appartient, et votre personne 
appartient a notre maitre/ Zadig, pour re- 
ponse, tira son epee; son valet, qui avait du 
courage, en fit autant. Us renverserent morts 
les premiers Arabes qui mirent la main sur eux ; 
le nombre redoubla: ils ne s'etonnerent point, 
et resolurent de perir en combattant. On voyait 
deux hommes se def endre contre une multitude ; 
un tel combat ne pouvait durer longtemps. Le 
maitre du chateau, nomine Arbogad, ayant vu 
d'une fenetre les prodiges de valeur que faisait 
Zadig, concut de 1'estime pour lui. II descendit 
en hate, et vint lui-meme ecarter ses gens, et 
deliverer les deux voyageurs. 'Tout ce qui 
passe sur mes terres est a moi, dit-il, aussi bien 


que ce que je trouve sur les terres des autres; 
mais vous me paraissez un si brave homme que 
je vous exempte de la loi commune.' II le fit 
entrer son chateau, ordonnant a ses gens de le 
bien traiter; et, le soir, Arbogad voulut souper 
avec Zadig. 

"Le seigneur du chateau etait un de ces 
Arabes qu'on appelle voleurs; mais il faisait 
quelquefois de bonnes actions parmi une foule 
de mauvaises; il volait avec une rapacite 
f urieuse, et donnait liberalement : intrepide dans 
Faction, assez doux dans le commerce, debauche 
a table, gai dans la debauche, et surtout plein de 
franchise. Zadig lui plut beaucoup; sa con- 
versation, qui s'anima, fit durer le repas; enfin 
Arbogad lui dit : ' Je vous conseille de vous en- 
roler sous moi, vous ne sauriez mieux f aire ; ce 
metier-ci n'est pas mauvais; vous pourrez un 
jour devenir ce que je suis.' 

" Puis-je vous demander, dit Zadig, de- 
puis quel temps vous exercez cette noble pro- 
fession ? 

" Des ma plus tendre jeunesse, reprit le 
seigneur. J'etais valet d'un Arabe asser ha- 
bile ; ma situation m'etait insupportable. J'etais 
au desespoir de voir que, dans toute la terre 


qui appartient egalement aux hommes, la des- 
tinee ne m'eut pas reserve ma portion. Je 
confiai mes peines a un vieil Arabe, qui me dit : 
' Mon fils, ne desesperez pas ; il y avait autref ois 
un grain de sable qui se lamentait d'etre un 
atome ignore dans les deserts; au bout de quel- 
ques annees il devint diamant, et il est a present 
le plus bel ornement de la couronne du roi des 
Indes.' Ce discours me fit impression; j'etais 
le grain de sable, je resolus de devenir diamant. 
Je commengai par voler deux chevaux; je 
m'associai des camarades ; je me mis en etat de 
voler de petites caravanes : ainsi je fis cesser peu 
a peu la disproportion qui etait d'abord entre 
les hommes et moi. J'eus ma part aux biens 
de ce monde, et je fus meme dedommage avec 
usurer on me considera beaucoup: je devins 
seigneur brigand; j'acquis ce chateau par voie 
de fait. Le satrape de Syrie voulut m'en "His^ 
posseder ; mais j'etais deja trop riche pour avoir 
rien a craindre; jedonnai del'argent au satrape, 
moyennant quoi je conservai ce chateau, et 
j'agrandis mes domaines; il me nomma meme 
tresorier des tributs que 1' Arabic Petree payait 
au roi des rois. Je fis ma charge de receveur, 
et point du tout celle de payeur." 


Arbogad also informs Zadig that the times are 
especially good for plundering, now that Moab- 
dar is dead. Everything is in confusion in 
Babylon. He does not know, and does not care, 
what has become of Astarte; she may have 
passed through his hands. He seized every- 
thing that he could, but he did not keep it, he 
sold it to the highest bidder. He has heard, 
however, of the incursions of the Prince d'Hyr- 
canie, perhaps she is among his concubines. 
While talking he drank with so much courage 
that his ideas became confused. He kept re- 
peating that he was the happiest of men, and 
urged Zadig not to worry any more about the 
fate of Astarte. Finally, gradually made 
drowsy by the fumes of the wine, he went to 
bed and slept tranquilly all night. Zadig, how- 
ever, passed the night in the greatest agitation, 
continually contrasting the fate of his Astarte 
with that of the robber Arbogad. The next 
morning he inquired of all the inhabitants of 
the chateau if they knew anything of Astarte, 
but they were too busy to pay any attention to 
him. They had taken new booty during the 
night, and the most that he could obtain from 
them was the permission to depart. He availed 


himself of this permission without delay, and 
started on his way to Babylon. 

The question that confronts us now is, what 
did Voltaire mean by this episode? It is ob- 
vious that we must determine from his works 
to whom he most consistently gives the epithet 
of voleur, and be guided by an analysis of the 
episode itself in our interpretation of it. 

To me the salient points in this episode are 
the following: 

First: Arbogad's motto is: Cette terre est a 
moi. He is the absolute lord of it; he is the 

Second: Arbogad has no right to his lands 
except that of brigandage; the right of might 
or ruse. 

Third : Arbogad owes his elevation in ultimo 
to an apologue, the grain of sand which became 
diamond. The ultimate source of all his ac- 
tions is the envy which the grain of sand bears 
toward the diamond. 

Fourth: Arbogad was not only lord of his 
own lands, but was the fermier-general of others ; 
he is receveur but not payeur of the tribute of 
Arable Petree. 

Fifth: Arbogad's portrait: he has some good 


qualities among a host of evil ones. He honors 
valor; he comes to the aid of Zadig against his 
own troops. Although he robbed with furious 
rapacity, he gave liberally. He was intrepid in 
battle, rather pleasant in social intercourse ; de- 
bauched at table, but gay in his debauche; a 
wine-bibber and great eater, lingering long at 
dinner; good raconteur, remarkable for his 
frankness, and always eager to enroll new re- 

Now it seems to me that the key to Voltaire's 
symbolism in this episode is Arbogad's motto: 
Cette terre est a moi. Let us consider this 
symbolism, with all its probable ramifications. 

In the first place, who is entitled to say: 
" Cette terre est a moi seul ; tout ce qui vient sur 
mes terres est a moi; tout ce que vous avez 
m'appartient ; votre personne m'appartient ? " 
Clearly, for Voltaire, there can be but one inter- 
pretation, in ultimo, of the symbol: it is the 
symbol of the Infdme, the symbol of Intoler- f 
ance, le ml tyran de I'esprit. Where did he 
meet this symbol ? Everywhere : in religion, in 
politics, in literature; it was the spirit of the 
18th century. But keeping to the literal sig- 
nificance of the motto: Cette terre est a moi, 


who was entitled to raise that cry, or who arro- 
gated to himself that right ? Clearly there were 
only three classes of persons who could repeat 
Arbogad's motto, namely, (1), the gods, (2), 
their vicars on earth, especially the kings and 
the popes, and (3), the vicars of the vicars of the 
gods, les serviteurs des serviteurs de Dieu, and 
of the kings; in short, whoever speaks in their 
name and with their authority. These terms 
are mutually equivalent, for the title of the 
popes is le serviteur des serviteurs de Dieu; the 
popes are kings of the earth ; the popes are gods 
on earth, as are also the kings; every ecclesias- 
tical prince, as also every nobleman, is king of 
his own territory; even the fermiers-generaux 
are called plebeian kings in Babouc. 

There is danger of equivocation here, unless 
we define our terms. I am not concerned with 
any philosophical or metaphysical discussion of 
the divinity that shapes our ends, or of the God 
of any sect; ! I am concerned solely with the idea 
of God and of his vicars on earth that pervades 
all Voltaire's works. To him the God of the 
Christians was a monster of intolerance, by vir- 
tue of his cry ; " I am thy God and thou shalt 
have no other God but me." Cf. M. 17, p. 476, 


577, 581. Voltaire says also (Essai sur les 
mceurs, Beuchot 18, pp. 144r-145) that Chris- 
tianity has produced only crimes and assassina- 
tions by its intolerance / quiconque ne pense pas 
comme nous est reprouve, et il faut avoir les 
reprouves en horreur. If Voltaire had been con- 
vinced that God had revealed himself to the 
wretched Jews, and that their God was really 
the Creator of the universe, his attitude would 
have been different. But he looked upon their 
God as a man after David's own heart: a re- 
morseless brigand, a debauchee, passionate even 
to bestiality, rapacious as Joseph, their first 
fermier-general, and the type of the Jews of all 
times, reducing man body and soul to a state of 
abject slavery. Wherever we find in Voltaire 
a symbol of tyranny, of exclusive domination, 
of intolerance in short, we will find inevitably 
at the bottom of it the God of the Garden, insa- 
tiable of our misfortunes in this world and in 
the next. It is impossible not to recognize him 
in Arbogad and his motto. "You are mine, 
body and soul, and all that you have is mine; 
believe in me, enroll yourself under me, spread 
my gospel with fire and sword, and you will be 
saved; otherwise you will be damned in this 


life and the next and burn forever in hell-fire." 
It is impossible not to recognize him in the 
name of the Westphalian Baron Thunder-ten- 
tronckh, the thunderer among the trees of the 
garden, who, whether Senior or Junior, whether 
of the Old Testament or of the New, wants 
everything for himself, especially whatever is 
dearest to man: liberty, life, happiness, wealth, 
etc. He appears in Voltaire's works in a score 
of forms, like the old Proteus of the Greeks, 
but he can always be held fast by the trail of his 
rapacious tyranny. 

Of course there is a sense in which one can 
say of God that everything is his, to give and to 
take away as he pleases. There is a sense in 
which every man can say with Job : " The Lord 
hath given, the Lord hath taken away; blessed 
be the name of the Lord." That is an eternal 
verity which nobody will contest, in a certain 
sense. But certainly the Creator of the uni- 
verse has not given to any one of our fellow- 
beings the right to speak in his name, to rob 
in his name, to burn, to rape, and slay in his 
name and for his greater glory, the right to cry 
(M. 9, p. 388) : 


" Ce n'est pas moi, c'est lui qui manque a ma parole, 
Qui frappe par mes mains, pille, brule, viole." 

Could the partisans of such a frightful dogma, 
Voltaire asks, say more, if they worshipped the 
devil ? 

To Voltaire the origin of evil in the world 
was to be traced* not to man's passions as such, 
but to the fact that they became justified, in 
the course of time, through the misuse of the 
name of the Deity. What will the people not 
endure from the tyranny of a king, if they are 
persuaded that he is the Lord's anointed, that he 
rules by divine right, that he, like the pope, 
can do no wrong ? Efface such a conception : let 
the people see that the Deity has nothing to do 
with the manner in which man conducts him- 
self, that his reason has been given him to serve 
as his criterion as to what is best for him, and 
tyranny, and persecution in the name of God 
will cease utterly. To all legislators who spoke 
to the people in the name of the Deity, Voltaire 
would speak thus (Essai sur les Mceurs, Beu- 
chot 15, p. 243) : " Arrete, ne compromets pas 
ainsi la Divinite; tu veux me tromper si tu la 
f ais descendre pour enseigner ce que nous savons 


tons; tu veux sans doute la faire servir a quel- 
que autre usage; tu veux te prevaloir de mon 
consentement a des verites eternelles pour ar- 
racher de moi mon consentement a ton usurpa- 
tion. Je te defere au peuple comme un tyran 
qui blaspheme." 

The example of Arbogad's motto: Cette terre 
est a moi, which will be most readily recalled, 
is that of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob : " All that land I give unto thee and thy 
descendants forever." The oracles 'of the Jews 
promised them not only the land of Canaan, 
flowing with milk and honey, but the dominion 
of the earth; they, whose number was as small 
and insignificant as a few scattered grains of 
sand, were to be as the grains of sand of the 
desert : uncounted millions ; the whole world was 
to be blessed in the seed of Abraham. These 
oracles they took in a literal sense (Essai sur 
Us mceurs, Beuchot 15, p. 138), but the Chris- 
tians interpreted them in a figurative sense. 
The Jews, enriched in Egypt by farming the 
revenues, their favorite occupation ever since, 
robbed the Egyptians of their golden vessels, 
were led into the deserts by their Arbogad, 
where they languished for forty years, and 


finally took possession of a little kingdom by 
the most odious rapacities in history. 1 They 
told the Moabites that their God had given 
them this land, just as the God of the Moabites 
had given them their land. The God of the 
Jews was so thoroughly a tribal God that he 
could conquer on the mountains, but not in the 
valleys. So the God of every little nation was 
thoroughly a tribal God, made in the image of 
the brigand who first used the name of the deity 
to justify his usurpation. The literal meaning 
of the name of the Egyptian' deity Osiris, Vol- 
taire tells us (M. 18, p. 358), is the motto of 
Arbogad: Cette terre est a moi. In every war 
in historical times, and even the wars of which 
mythology tells us, the tribal gods fought at the 
head of the tribes to determine the question: 
A qui est cette terre? They were all made in 
man's own image, but with his passions infi- 
nitely magnified: infinitely jealous, envious, 
avaricious, brutal, etc. One can easily see in 
what a variety of forms Voltaire can present 
such a conception of the divinity. He is Sacro- 

1 It may not be out of place to emphasize the fact that 
this interpretation of the Jews and their God is Vol- 
taire's; I merely reproduce it. 


gorgon in the Pucelle: the grand inquisitor 
whose Medusa head turns men's hearts to stone. 
He is Martinguerre in the same poem, voleur 
de jour, voleur de nuit, mais saintement a la 
merge attache, who, in times of confusion seizes 
everything that he can lay his hands on, and 
whose head is cut off by an intrepid English- 
woman : symbolic of England's deliverance from 
the papacy in the war started by Martin Luther. 
He appears in Vanderdendur, the lover of 
riches and the perpetrator of inhuman cruelties 
to secure them. He is particularly the lover of 
virgins; witness Voltaire's Pucelle and the 
origin of Christianity. The Jews were com- 
manded by their Arbogad to kill every living 
thing, except des jeunes filles nubiles. He is 
the lover of old women who have fallen once or 
more times; he takes them unto himself, and 
incidentally their wealth also. As the God who 
spoke to Moses face to face but still showed 
himself only par dernere, he is Hermaphrodix, 
Conculix, Cacambo, like Diafoirus, qui nest 
pas accoutume a parler aux visages. He is the 
God of incest, since he is the father of himself 
by his mother, as in Voltaire's first' symbolic 
work, CEdipe. As the phallic God, what is his 


symbol ? The winged ass of the Pucelle, whose 
favors he finally gets. 

For Voltaire the three impostors, Moses, 
Jesus Christ, __flnd Mohammed, all followed 
identical plans: those of Arbogad. They all 
raised his cry : Cette terre est a moi. " The 
earth is mine and the fullness thereof." Vol- 
taire says (M. 25, p. 131): " Christianity jwas 
established by imposture and madness. An im- 
postor harangues the dregs of society in a barn, 
and the impostors who succeed him soon inhabit 
palaces." Yet Moses, Jesus Christ, and Mo- 
hammed, came after the earth had been appor- 
tioned; the lots had been cast; everybody was 
in peaceful possession of his own. But the 
dregs of society j*an eagerlyjafter an ambitious 
impostor^ who told them that he haocome to 
save them, and that theirs should be the domin- 
ion of the earth. Cf. especially I dees repub- 
licaines, M. 24, p. 414, where the parallel be- 
tween Arbogad and the robber-God of the Chris- 
tians is very clear. He aroused their envy and 
their cupidity. The impostors of the new sect 
of Christianity used the oracles of the Jews 
about the sands of the desert to designate the 
world dominion of the new sect (M. 18, p. 427 


f.). Peter is the grain of sand, or the stone, 
of the desert, which became diamond. It was 
no use to tell the choleric Gregory VII, Pope 
Hildebrand, or, as the Germans call him, Pope 
Hollenbrand, that it was only a question of the 
celestial empire. Maudit damne, he cried, il 
s'agit du terrestre, et il vous damnait, et il vous 
faisait pendre sil pouvait. More profound 
minds, Voltaire adds, went further in their 
demonstrations: if Jesus had renounced the 
kingdom of the earth, it must all the more be- 
long to his vicar the Pope. Who had a better 
claim to what the master cast off than the loyal 
servant of that master ? So the papal Arbogad 
claimed the dominion of the whole world. 
There was not a single usurpation since the time 
of Gregory that did not get its authorization 
from the vicar of Christ (Essai sur les Mceurs, 
Beuchot 16, p. 260). And the deposed king 
was expected to say : " The Lord hath given, the 
Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of 
the Lord." The Lord was Arbogad. Even the 
new kingdoms, discovered and conquered by 
horrible atrocities, in the New World, were 
parceled out by Arbogad, who stole with such 
furious rapacity and gave so liberally. 


In what way is Arbogad the symbol of the 
kings of Europe? By divine right; they are 
the Lord's anointed. Christmeims anointed; , 
therefore every king is a Christ, an Arbogad. 
In what respect is a king a robber ? Every first 
king is a robber, a brigand, voleur de grand 
chemin, as Voltaire says in a score of places 
(cf. Annales de I'Empire, Beuchot 23, p. 93; 
and Essai sur les Mosurs, Beuchot 17, p. 447). 
In the second place, the kings with whom Vol- 
taire came into contact, especially Louis XV 
and Frederick, were despots, were like any 
voleur de grand chemin. " A prince who, with- 
out justice, and without the formality of estab- 
lished laws, imprisons or puts away a citizen, 
is a highwayman, whom we call Your Majesty " 
(M. 23, p. 530). Voltaire had gone almost as 
far as that in his English Letters (M. 22, p. 
103 f.) : "The English are the only nation of 
the earth that has succeeded in limiting the 
power of the king by law, and leaving him all 
liberty to do good, has tied his hands to do evil. 
Other nations have shed as much blood as the 
English in the cause of liberty, but it has only 
served to cement their bondage." It is plain, 
therefore, that Arbogad, qui faisait quelquefois 


de bonnes actions parmi une joule de mauvaises, 
is every king of Europe, and of the world, ex- 
cept the English king. 

Kings and popes have their subordinate brig- 
ands. Every ecclesiastical prince of Germany 
was an Arbogad; every religious order, exempt 
from taxation, had as its head an Arbogad, de- 
voured with the rage of amassing wealth. 
Every fermier-general, to whom a portion of 
the kingdom was given pour le travailler en 
finance, as Voltaire calls it (M. 10, p. 57), was 
an Arbogad, who robbed and ravaged in the 
name of his master. The Arbogad of Zadig 
says that he was appointed receiver of the 
tribute which Arabic Petree paid to the King 
of Kings. The King of Kings was, in one sense, 
the Pope. The ecclesiastical princes and the 
religious orders, especially those of Germany, 
collected Peter's pence, i. e., the tribute of 
Arable Petree, but did not always turn it into 
the coffers of the King of Kings. It was this 
tribute, Voltaire says, which turned Germany, 
Holland, and England away from the Holy 
Eoman Catholic Church. In another sense the 
King of France was the King of Kings. The 
kings of whom he was the king are called by Vol- 


taire in Babouc (M. 21, p. 7) "forty plebeyan 
kings." One could quote a score of passages 
from Voltaire's works where he has raised his 
voice against the traiianis, who laid waste the 
kingdom and kept nine-tenths of their ill-gotten 
gains. Babouc concluded from the shameless 
traffic in the dignities of the empire and from 
the depredations of the plebeyan kings, that the 
Angel Ituriel would not have to destroy Perse- 
polis, for the inhabitants would exterminate 
themselves by their evil internal administra- 
tion. Thus every little roitelet of the fermiers- 
generaux was entitled to raise the cry of Arbo- 
gad: Cette terre est a moi et tout ce que vous 
avez m'appartient de droit divin. 

Voltaire had just had an unpleasant experi- 
ence with one of them, whose name, Michel, as 
that of the messenger and agent of the Biblical 
Arbogad, fitted most happily into his symbolism. 
"Un certain Michel, a qui j'avais confie une 
partie de ma fortune, s'est avise de faire la 
plus horrible banqueroute que mortel financier 
puisse faire. C'etait un receveur general des 
finances de Sa Majeste. Or je ne congois que 
mediocrement comment un receveur general des 
finances peut faire banqueroute sans etre un 


fripon " (Letter to Cideville from Brussels, Oct. 
28, 1741 ; M. 36, p. 104). Voltaire had already 
written to Thieriot (M. 36, p. 102) that Michel 
had taken 32500 livres, " soit en rentes, soit en 
argent comptant ; mais je le crois plus a plaindre 
que moi," he adds. "II vivait splendidement 
du bien d'autrui, et il sera reduit a ne le de- 
penser qu'a la sourdine." He consoles himself 
with the words of Job, adding that one can sub- 
mit to Providence without being devot (M. 35, 
p. 481). He ends the episode with the pious 
wish that the devil may get Michel (Letter to 
Mme. Denis, Sept. 9, 1752) ; and that is where 
all his symbolism ends: in the equivalence of 
God and the devil. 

The question as to the identity of Arbogad 
is not yet answered, however. There are sev- 
eral other applications which show how far- 
reaching Voltaire's symbolism was. Voltaire 
was met on every hand by the symbol of Arbo- 
gad: Cette terre est a moi. In the first place, 
he had to leave his little paradise of Cirey and 
spend several years in Brussels or in its neig- 
borhood on account of the lawsuit of Mme. du 
Chatelet. A second cousin of M. du Chatelet, 
named M. le marquis de Trichateau, had died 


a widower, without children, at Cirey, and 
Mme. du Chatelet claimed the inheritance. Her 
claim was disputed by the House of Honsbrook, 
so that Voltaire had to defend himself against 
the symbol of Arbogad: Cette terre est a moi. 
It was due to his efforts that, after long litiga- 
tion, Mme. du Chatelet, although she had to 
renounce the little principality and the title of 
princess which would have gone with it, re- 
ceived a large sum of money in settlement of 
her claim. The successful heirs of the Marquis 
de Trichateau were connected with Arbogad, 
not merely by their cry: Cette terre est a moi, 
but also, I think, by a pun on the name of the 
Marquis. Voltaire poses, in the Pucelle, as M. 
de Tritheme. He claims that the book De 
tribus impostonbus, which Des Vignes, the 
chancellor of the Emperor Frederick II, is sup- 
posed to have written, was found by a M. de 
Trawsmandorf (M. 17, p. 468). He is evi- 
dently punning, in both cases, on the trinity 
(tri-, tris, trois, trine, tritheisme). It is likely, 
therefore, that Trichateau is thought of by Vol- 
taire as the chateau of the trinity, t. e., of 

We still have to examine the portrait of 


Arbogad in order to determine who he was. We 
are aided in this analysis by another circum- 
stance. Who was, in Voltaire's time, the par- 
ticular King who raised the cry : " Cette terre 
est a moi ? " With what particular King, who 
raised that cry, did Voltaire come into relations ? 
What particular King was intrepid in action, 
pleasant in social relations, debauched at table, 
gay in his debauch, a lingerer at rather famous 
soupers, something of a wine-bibber, good ra- 
conteur, animated in speech until overcome by 
the fumes of wine, characterized by his frank- 
ness, eager to enroll recruits, and especially 
eager to have Voltaire in his entourage? 

The answer is beyond the shadow of a doubt : 
it was Frederick the Great, whom Voltaire per- 
sisted in calling the God of Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob, a God who believed in no God except 

The question: A qui est cette terre? was a 
burning one at the time. It is not necessary 
that I should describe the situation of Europe; 
I need only refer the reader to Voltaire's Precis 
du siecle de Louis XV. The various claimants 
to slices of the Austrian succession prepared, in 
spite of the Pragmatic sanction of Charles VI, 


to which they had all agreed, to enforce their 
claims by resort to arms. These claims had 
already been pleaded in publications through- 
out the whole Christian world (M. 15, p. 
191 ff.). "Tous les princes, tous les particu- 
liers, y prenaient interet. On s'attendait a une 
guerre universelle; mais ce qui confondit la 
politique humaine, c'est que Forage commenca 
d'un cote ou personne n'avait tourne les yeux." 
That was the invasion of Silesia by Frederick 
the Great. Frederick's ancestors had laid claim 
to four duchies in Silesia, which they had been 
obliged to renounce because they were weak. 
Frederick's father had governed his kingdom 
in the one end of making it strong; he turned 
everything into soldiers and into money. He 
brought up the crown prince in the same single 
aim, namely, that he might make good the claim 
of Arbogad: Cette terre est a moi. Before his 
invasion of Silesia Frederick and Voltaire had 
met at the old chateau de Moiland, near Cleves, 
in Ehenish Prussia, and very near the little 
principality of Trichateau, names most appro- 
priate for Voltaire's symbolism. At Voltaire's 
arrival, or shortly thereafter, two thousand sol- 
diers of Frederick departed at a gallop, with a 


summons written by Voltaire, to enforce Fred- 
erick's claim against the Bishop of Liege on the 
Principality of Herstall (M. 23, p. 153, and 
Memoir es pour servir a la vie de Voltaire). 
Voltaire calls the two thousand soldiers of Fred- 
erick "two thousand demonstrations of his 
claim." This is the starting point of the episode 
in Zadig: Comme il passait pres d'un chateau 
assez fort, des Arabes armes en sortirent. The 
fiction by which Zadig is represented as being 
attacked by them is due to symbolism, since 
Voltaire was always warring against the symbol 
of Arbogad : Intolerance, a war in which Fred- 
erick himself came to his aid. There is justi- 
fication for this symbolism even in the summons 
which Voltaire wrote against the Bishop o 
Liege, since every ecclesiastical prince of Ger- 
many was an Arbogad. How could a member 
of the sect of Christ, whose vow bound him to 
poverty and humility, arrive at princely dignity 
except by the methods of Arbogad ? Frederick 
refers to Voltaire's prowess in this little war 
against the " prince-eveque," and against the 
arch-robber in the Republic of Letters, Van 
Duren, the publisher of the Anti-Machiavel (M. 
35, p. 535) : Le Liegeois que vous dbattez, Van 


Duren que vous retenez, etc. In still another 
sense Frederick had aided Voltaire against 
Arbogad, namely, in the litigation of Mme. du 
Chatelet about the principality of Trichateau. 
The real significance of Frederick's aid to Vol- 
taire, as symbolized in this episode, is to be 
sought, however, in the cause of Voltaire's first 
visit to Berlin. Voltaire's fight against the 
symbol of Arbogad culminated in his tragedy 
Mahomet, which, he tells us, was inspired by 
the persecutions of the epoch of the Voltairo- 
manie. Mohammed was the greatest non-Jew- 
ish, non-Christian brigand of history (cf. Vol- 
taire's parallel between Mohammed and his suc- 
cessors on the one hand and the Jews and their 
God on the other : Essai sur les mceurs, Beuchot 
15, p. 323). Voltaire's tragedy, symbolic of 
the poet's defense of his person from the attacks 
of religious fanaticism, was being played at 
Lille, when the author received news of Fred- 
erick's victory of Molwitz. He immediately 
announced the news to the audience, in the ex- 
pectation, he says, that Frederick's victory 
would contribute to the success of his drama, 
i. e. t that Arbogad would come to his rescue. 
Further, when Voltaire was being persecuted in 


Paris by the enemies of his tragedy, the parle- 
mentaires, the convulsionnaires, the traducejc. 
Desfontaines, the old poet Crebillon, Maurepas 
and Mirepoix, the Archbishop of Sens and the 
Archbishop of Strasburg, it was Frederick, the 
Arbogad of Silesia, as well as the Pope, the 
Arbogad of Rome, who came to his rescue. Vol- 
taire went to the court of Frederick ostensibly 
to escape from the persecutions of his enemies 
in Paris, and he dedicated his tragedy to the 
pope. Thus Arbogad, having witnessed the pro- 
digious valor of Zadig, one man against a multi- 
tude, pushed aside his own soldiers and rescued 
the hero. 

Frederick, half humorously, half seriously, 
claimed that Voltaire belonged to him by di- 
vine right (M. 36, p. 179; Nov. 18, 1742) and 
that he could seize him wherever he found him. 
If he had followed his own inclinations he 
would long ago have printed a manifesto to this 
effect. Thus the soldiers of Arbogad cry : Tout 
ce que vous avez nous appartient, et votre per- 
sonne appartient a noire maitre. Such refer- 
ences run all through Frederick's correspond- 
ence with Voltaire. He threatens to carry him 
off. He sends him wine, which he drinks, and 


by virtue of which, in Candide, he becomes an 
unwilling recruit of the Bulgarian captain. It 
is the recruiting mania of Frederick's father 
for tall men, and of Frederick for great men. 
Voltaire uses the expression de grands hommes 
in an equivocal sense in his letter to Maupertuis 
(M. 35, p. 468) : the six-foot physical giants 
of the father have given way to the six-foot in- 
tellectual giants of the son. Frederick did 
everything in his power to make Voltaire's 
return to France impossible (M. 36, p. 211) : 
" Mon intention est de brouiller Voltaire si bien 
en France qu'il ne lui reste de parti a prendre 
que celui de venir chez moi." Voltaire was not 
his dupe this time (M. 36, p. 253) : "Ne pou- 
vant me gagner autrement, il croit m'acquerir 
en me perdant en France ; mais je vous jure que 
j'aimerais mieux vivre dans un village suisse 
que de jouir a ce prix de la faveur dangereuse 
d'un roi capable de mettre de la trahison dans 
1'amitie meme : ce serait en ce cas un trop grand 
malheur de lui plaire. Je ne veux point du 
palais d'Alcine, ou 1'on est esclave parce qu'on 
a ete aime." 

Zadig has difficulty in getting clear and pre- 
cise information out of Arbogad about Moabdar, 


Astarte, and the trend of events in the Empire. 
He informs him, however, that Moabdar is dead, 
after having gone mad, that Babylon is a great 
coupe-gorge, que I'empire est desole, and that 
the time is most opportune for pillaging, quil 
y a de beaux coups a faire, et que pour ma, part 
j'en ai fait d' admirabl&sH So Frederick, not 
more than a month and a half after his first 
meeting with Voltaire, wrote (M. 35, p. 540; 
Oct. 26, 1740) that the death of the Emperor 
had disarranged all his pacific plans ; the affair 
with the Bishop of Liege (which had been set- 
tled peaceably by an agreement signed at Berlin, 
Oct. 20) was nothing at all in comparison to 
the death of the Emperor, which meant the 
bouleversement de I'Europe. In the words of 
Arbogad : " Jamais la saison de voler n'a ete 
meilleure, depuis que Moabdar est tue, et que 
tout est en confusion dans Babylon." At the 
time of his semi-diplomatic mission to the court 
of Frederick Voltaire had the same difficulty as 
Zadig in getting precise information out of 
Frederick. He finally learned, after many jest- 
ing or evasive replies of the King had sorely 
tried his patience, that Frederick's hesitation 
about renewing the alliance with France was 


duo to the fact that Louis XV had not declared 
war on his uncle, King George of England. 
Twenty days after this declaration was made 
Frederick and Louis XV renewed their alliance 
(March, 1744). Thus Voltaire was instrumen- 
tal in uniting the two most pronounced Arbo- 
gad kings of Europe. 

The other features of Arbogad's portrait cor- 
respond with those of Frederick. Arbogad's 
frankness is especially emphasized. So Fred- 
erick writes to Voltaire (M. 34, p. 164) that 
the Germans are distinguished for their good- 
sense, their candor, and the veracity of their 
speech. The frankness of the King is often 
brutal, and shows a cynical disbelief in any 
virtue except self-interest. Voltaire fears that 
Frederick despises too much mankind (M. 36, 
p. 107), since he paints so well les nobles friponr 
neries des politiques, let soins interesses des 
courtisans. That was, according to the French 
Ambassador at the court of Frederick, M. de 
Valori, the particular fault in Frederick's char- 
acter. Again, the debauchery of Arbogad d 
souper, is a reminiscence of the famous soupers 
of Frederick, in which unbridled license reigned, 
especially in the brutal frankness of the King's 


jests, whether spoken or acted. " Ce gouverne- 
ment singulier, ces moeurs encore plus etranges, 
ce contraste de stoi'cisme et d'epicureisme, de 
severite dans la discipline militaire, et de mol- 
lesse dans 1'interieur du palais, des pages avec 
lesquels on s'amusait dans son cabinet, et des 
soldats qu'on faisait passer trente-six fois par 
les baguettes sous les fenetres du monarque qui 
les regardait, des discours de morale, et une 
licence effrenee, tout cela composait un tableau 
bizarre que peu de personnes connaissaient alors, 
et qui depuis a perce dans FEurope " (Memoires 
pour servir a la vie de Voltaire, M. 1, p. 29). 

There are some features of the episode of 
Arbogad which do not apply to Frederick either 
in his capacity as King or in his character as 
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but in 
his capacity as a man of letters. I wish to show 
how Voltaire connected him with the symbol 
of the brigandage of literature. 

Frederick had the mania of verse-making, the 
rage of writing ; he was possessed with " ce desir 
insurmontable, cette fureur . . . de produire 
ses premiers ouvrages" (M. 34, p. 164). As 
crown-prince he had begun the composition of 
the Anti-Machiavel, with the publication of 


which Voltaire was entrusted. Voltaire picked 
out a publisher, whose name was later to serve 
his symbolism, a certain Van Duren, of The 
Hague, the "publisher of the most horrible 
calumnies against the Regent, the most signal 
rogue of Europe." When Frederick became 
King, and especially when he realized what a 
fine opportunity he had to put into practice the 
principles of Machiavelli's prince, which he had 
so eloquently refuted in his work, he wished to 
withdraw it from publication. Voltaire's con- 
duct in this negotiation is not above criticism. 
There is not a doubt in the first place, that he 
wished to have the Anti-Machiavel published as 
a guarantee to the world of Frederick's attach- 
ment to the principles of honor, justice, and 
humanity (M. 35, p. 541) : " J'ai ete bien aise," 
he writes, "qu'un roi ait fait ainsi, entre mes 
mains, serment a 1'univers d'etre bon et juste." 
It was his purpose to make it impossible for 
Frederick, after the publication of the Anti- 
Machiavel, to act the part of Machiavelli's 
prince. At the same time he had the positive 
instructions of the King to withdraw the manu- 
script. What did he do? He did everything 
he could to excite the cupidity of Van Duren, 


by vague references to the royal author, in spite 
of the King's prohibition to mention him. He 
succeeded so well that Van Duren refused, for 
any consideration whatever, to desist from his 
purpose of publishing the work. With that ob- 
ject accomplished, Voltaire could do anything 
he liked to justify himself in Frederick's eyes 
as a good and faithful servant. He offered Van 
Duren large sums, which he increased at three 
different times; he secured possession of the 
manuscript, folio by folio, on the plea of mak- 
ing necessary corrections, and inserted what- 
ever he liked, ostensibly to make the manuscript 
useless to Van Duren. Then, after having con- 
vinced the King that he had done all in his 
power to prevent the publication and failed, he 
secures the permission of Frederick to publish 
his own version. That was just what Voltaire 
aimed at, I feel sure, for he made so many 
changes in the King's work that the author not 
only disavowed the edition of Van Duren but 
also that of Voltaire. But here Voltaire fell 
into a snare from which he had great difficulty 
in extricating himself. By the law of the land, 
it seems (M. 35, p. 527), Van Duren had the 
exclusive right to publish and sell the Anti- 


Machiavel and for the sole reason that he had 
been the first to announce his intention of pub- 
lishing and selling it. That constitutes Vol- 
taire's great grief against Van Duren, and it 
connects him with the symbol of Arbogad : Cette 
terre est a moi. Although Voltaire rages and 
fumes he gives Van Duren credit for his busi- 
ness perspicacity (M. 35, p. 523) : "II a raison 
d'en user ainsi; ces deux editions et les sui- 
vantes feraient sa fortune, et je suis sur qu'un 
libraire qui aurait seul le droit de copie en 
Europe gagnerait trente-mille ducats au moms." 
That was Van Duren's plan, to possess himself 
of both manuscripts (M. 35, p. 523) : "H vou- 
lait imprimer et le manuscript que j'ai tente de 
retirer de ses mains et celui meme que j'ai cor- 
rige. II veut f riponner sous le manteau de la loi." 
His legal right was that of Arbogad : Cette terre 
est a moi, an association for which Frederick 
was himself responsible. After giving Voltaire 
permission to go ahead with his own edition and 
to make whatever changes he wishes so that 
it may appear as an entirely new and authentic 
edition and cause that of Van Duren to fall, he 
says that he will also have to disputer le ter- 
rain a toutes sortes de Van Duren politiques. 


Thus Frederick not only uses a figure equiva- 
lent to Cette terre est a moi as a symbol for 
himself and his brother kings, but he gives a 
typical, a symbolic, meaning, to the name Van 

This episode of Van Duren receives signifi- 
cance by the use the poet made of it in Candide, 
where the connection of the symbol with Fred- 
erick is certain. As it has an intimate bearing 
on the symbolism of Arbogad, I will discuss it 
here in some detail. 

As Cacambo and Candide approach the Dutch 
city and trading station Surinam they come 
upon a negro stretched on the ground. He is 
dressed in rags, and is minus the right leg and 
the left hand. The famous Dutch merchant 
Vanderdendur has treated him thus; it is the 
custom there; it is at this cost that the people 
of Europe eat sugar. Candide sheds sincere 
tears over the fate of the poor negro and con- 
tinues on his way to Surinam. Here Vander- 
dendur offers him transportation to Venice, 
which he sells successively for 10,000, 20,000, 
and 30,000 piasters. His cupidity has been 


aroused by the readiness with which Candide 
agrees to all his demands. He conspires to get 
possession of all that Candide calls his own and 
then to sail away. He succeeds in doing this. 
Candide appeals to the courts. The judge 
begins by fining him 10,000 piasters for con- 
tempt, another 10,000 as costs, and then gra- 
ciously promises to look into the matter when 
Vanderdendur shall have returned. " Ce pro- 
cede acheva de desesperer Candide; il avait a 
la verite essuye des malheurs mille fois plus 
douloureux; mais le sangfroid du juge, et celui 
du patron dont il etait vole, alluma sa bile, et 
le plongea dans une noire melancholic. La 
mechancete des hommes se presentait a son 
esprit dans toute sa laideur, il ne se nourrissait 
que d'idees tristes." 

It is impossible not to recognize here the Van 
Duren of The Hague, to whom Voltaire had 
offered successively 1000, 2000, 3000 florins, et 
enfin jusqu'a mille ducats (Letter of Voltaire 
to M. Cyrille Le Petit, Oct. 3, 1741 ; M. 35, 
p. 516), and who plotted so cleverly to get 
possession of both manuscripts of the Anti- 
Machiavel. Voltaire had had a lawsuit with 
him at The Hague, and he was sued by him 


again at Frankfort at the time of the poet's 
detention there in 1753. Van Duren presented 
a bill for an old account, which Voltaire, with 
his accustomed malice, ascribes to Frederick 
(M. 1, p. 43 ; Memoires pour servir a la vie de 
Voltaire} : " II pretendait que sa Majeste lui 
redevait une vingtaine de ducats, et que j'en 
etais responsable. II comptait 1'interet, et 
1'interet de 1'interet. Le sieur Fichard, bourg- 
mestre de Francfort, qui etait meme le bourg- 
mestre regnant, comme cela se dit, trouva, en 
qualite be bourgmestre, le compte tres-juste, et, 
en qualite de regnant, il me fit debourser trente 
ducats, en prit vingt-six pour lui, et en donna 
quatre au fripon de libraire." 

Voltaire's symbolism here is obscured by the 
name Vanderdendur, and the poet probably in- 
tended this to be so. It is not Van Duren, but 
Frederick the Great that Voltaire has in mind ; 
it is not Surinam, but (Francfort) sur-Main, 
for which Surinam is an exact anagramme. 
The following considerations will demonstrate 
this, in so far as one can speak of a demonstra- 
tion here. 

In the first place, Voltaire is here confronted 
with the old symbolism of Arbogad : Cette terre 


est a moi. In the land of the Francs, in the city 
of the Free, in a Free Imperial City, Francfort, 
Frederick had no rights except those of Arbogad. 
He had no jurisdiction there, except that of the 
brigand. Voltaire complained, and never ceased 
complaining, of this violation of international 
rights. But to all his representations he received 
the reply that Frederick had more authority in 
Francfort than the Emperor. His appeals to 
the Emperor were not even answered, it seems: 
Arbogad was supreme. 

In the second place, the poor mutilated negro, 
whose left leg and right hand had been cut off 
by Vanderdendur, is simply a variation on the 
episode of Candide among the Bulgarians, 
which, in turn, represents Voltaire among the 
Prussians. Voltaire considered that his ex- 
perience at the court of Frederick was symbol- 
ized by the experience of the poor Franc-Com- 
tois, Courtils, whose tragedy he relates in the 
Memoires pour servir a la vie de Voltaire. 
Courtils, like Voltaire, had been enticed to the 
court of Berlin on the promise of being made 
chamberlain to his majesty, Frederick Wil- 
liam, but was put in a regiment of giants in- 
stead. Courtils deserted, was caught, brought 


back, made to run the gauntlet of a regiment 
of soldiers armed with ram-rods, had his nose 
and his ears cut off, after which he was thrown 
in the military prison of Spandau, from which 
Voltaire's eloquent verse secured his release. 
The negro had lost an arm and a leg for assert- 
ing his right to the noblest privilege of human- 
ity: liberty; Courtils had lost his nose and his 
ears for the same reason; Candide had been 
made to passer trente-six fois par les baguettes 
for the same reason; and Voltaire had been 
plunged into the black flood of the Styx and 
made to drink the bitterness of death for the 
same cause. In reference to the grand drame 
de sa vie, as Desnoiresterres calls the Francfort 
episode, Voltaire writes (M. 9, p. 269), epito- 
mizing the episode of Candide in Eldorado, fol- 
lowed by Candide in Surinam: 

" Au haut des cieux ils vous menent d'abord, 
Puis on vous plonge au fond de 1'onde noire, 
Et vous buvez Famertume et la mort." 

Like the poor negro, like Courtils, like Candide, 
Voltaire had in vain tried to escape from Arbo- 
gad. Freytag and Schmidt, Frederick's ac- 
credited brigands, deux ecumeurs ~barbares, 


caught him at the frontiers of Mainz, brought 
him back, searched and robbed him, treated him 
with cruel indignities, first at the home of 
Schmidt, then in the Bockshorn, aux comes de 
bouc, fit symbol of the great god Pan, the flute- 
player Frederick, the god of the trees, of the 
garden, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was 
made to sign an affidavit that he had sinned 
against his royal master in trying to escape, and 
that Freytag and Schmidt were justified in tak- 
ing the measures which they had taken ; further, 
that he would never speak or write about this 
matter, and that, if he failed to return all the 
writings which might later be found with which 
the King of Prussia had honored him, he would 
submit to any measures which the King might 
see fit to take, no matter where he might be 
located at the time. One can not help hearing 
the words of Arbogad's brigands: Tout ce que 
vous avez nous appartient, et votre personne ap- 
partient a noire maitre. 

In the third place, Voltaire betrays his sym- 
bolism by his reference, in the episode of Van- 
derdendur, to Candide's baggage. Combien 
voulez-vous, he says to the brigand, pour me 
mener en droiture a Venise, moi, mes gens, mon 


lagage, et les deux moutons que voild. Now, 
Candide had no baggage on arriving at Surinam. 
He had nothing but the two red sheep loaded 
with the diamonds of the King of Eldorado. 
Here again the reference is unmistakable. The 
King of Prussia had written to his military 
agent at Francfort, the Baron von Freytag, to 
hold Voltaire a prisoner until his baggage should 
have arrived, and in case it had already passed 
Francfort, or had been forwarded by another 
route, to detain him, under arrest, if necessary, 
until it should have been brought back and thor- 
oughly searched for the oeuvre de poeshie du 
roi mon ma/iire, as Freytag is represented as 
saying, or, as Voltaire ironically calls the dia- 
monds of the King's pen, les joyaux de la 
couronne brandebourgeoise. Freytag promised 
to allow Voltaire to depart on the arrival of the 
Leipzig baggage, in which the oeuvre de poeshie 
was contained, but he plotted to get all of Vol- 
taire's baggage, just as Vanderdendur plots to 
get all of the baggage of Candide. Thus the 
reference to the baggage of the hero, unjustified 
in the episode taken by itself, receives its raison 
d'etre from Voltaire's experience at Francfort. 
In the last place, Voltaire betrays his sym- 


holism by Candida's appeal to the law of the 
land. The only satisfaction he obtained was the 
gracious promise to look into the matter when 
Vanderdendur should have returned. What 
question can there be in the episode of the re- 
turn of the brigand? None at all; he who 
steals enough to buy up twenty kingdoms can 
not be expected to run off with his plunder only 
to return with it. The reference receives sig- 
nificance only when applied to Frederick. Vol- 
taire had appealed to the Imperial Council of 
Francfort against the usurpation of Frederick, 
but Freytag and Schmidt defeated his purpose 
by representing that they were awaiting new 
orders from the king. Frederick was no longer 
at Potsdam ; he had gone to Konigsberg. Noth- 
ing could be done until he returned. So Vol- 
taire's imprisonment was prolonged until the 
archrobber Arbogad could be consulted. 

I referred above to Voltaire's epitome of his 
experience at the court of Frederick, followed 
by that of Francfort, as symbolized in the ex- 
perience of Candide in Eldorado and Surinam. 

" Au haut des cieux ils vous mfcnent d'abord, 
Puis on vous plonge au fond de 1'onde noire, 
Et vous buvez 1'amertume et la mort." 


I may be excused for following up this line of 
thought to explain the symbolism of Eldorado, 
as it is connected with the question of inequality 
in society which aroused Arbogad's envy and 
started him on his career of pillage. It is 
hardly a digression, therefore, since Voltaire's 
symbolism is like a spider's web : everything is 
connected with everything else. It is that fact 
which makes the difficulty of presentation so 
great. His symbolism is like the system of 
Leibnitz and the ideas of Pascal, who claimed 
that it was impossible to understand anything 
in the universe because, everything being con- 
nected with everything else, one can not grasp 
the significance of any part without knowing 
the whole ; and since a knowledge of the whole 
universe is, on the face of it, impossible to mor- 
tal man, therefore the knowledge of any part of 
it is impossible. 

The " diamonds " of the Imagination, the 
"jewels" of literature, is a common figure with 
Voltaire. One of his earliest uses of it is the 
following (M. 33, p. 210) : Plus on a fait pro- 
vision des ricJiesses de I'antiquite, et plus on 


est dans I'obligation de les transporter en son 
pays. In reference to an Epitre of Formont 
(M. 33, p. 477), he says: Devant les indigents 
votre main accumule les vastes tresors de 
Cresus. This theme appears most frequently 
and persistently in Frederick's correspondence 
with Voltaire. The very first letter of the 
Crown Prince (M. 34, p. 101) contains it. 
Frederick refers, not to Voltaire's ouvrages, but 
to his voyages, in which he finds des tresors 
d'esprit. At the time of this letter Voltaire's 
muse was in Perou, i. e., Voltaire had gone on 
a literary expedition to Perou, just as La Con- 
damine had gone there on a scientific expedi- 
tion (M. 10, p. 511) : 

" Ma muse et son compas sont tous deux au Perou : 
II suit, il examine, et je peins la nature. 
Je m'occupe a chanter les pays qu'il mesure : 
Qui de nous deux est le plus f ou ? " 

It is by such a figure of speech that he can say 
that he has traversed the whole world ; and more : 
by his fictions, in which representatives of other 
planets come to this little " heap of mud " called 
the earth, and other fictions by which he is 
caught up into the air and is carried from 


planet to planet, he can say that he has tra- 
versed the universe. It is likely that, by such 
fictions, he desired to show his contemporaries 
the real significance, and at the same time the 
abuse that had been made of it, of the miracu- 
lous episode of the Bible, by which Elias was 
transfigured, or that of Mohammed, who trav- 
eled, on his horse Borac, through the air. When 
Voltaire reads MarmontePs book on the Incas 
much later, he refers to it as the vessel which 
transported him to Mexico and Perou with Mar- 

Frederick refers to Voltaire's works : La Pu- 
celle, Le Siecle de Louis XIV, Les Elements 
de la philosophic de Newton (M. 34, p. 263) 
as the Golden Fleece; his Traite de Metaphy- 
sique is likened to the great diamond of Pitt, or 
the Sanci, qui, dant leur petit volume, renfer- 
ment des tresors immenses. He would believe 
himself richer in possessing Voltaire's works 
than in possessing all the wealth of the world, 
which the same fortune gives and takes away 
(M. 34, p. 104). He says (M. 35, p. 424): 
"Mon cher Voltaire, les gallions de Bruxelles 
m'ont apporte des tresors qui sont pour moi au- 
dessus de tout prix. Je m'etonne de la prodigi- 


euse fecondite de votre Perou, qui parait ine- 

These references might be multiplied, but 
enough has been given to show the basis, or one 
of the elements, of the episode of Eldorado. It 
is first of all the Land of the Imagination, the 
diamonds of which are des tresors d' esprit. One 
of its applications is certainly to the court of 
Frederick, and for the following reasons. 

In the first place, Voltaire's very first letter 
to the Prince says that Frederick can bring 
back the age d'or, i. e., Eldorado, into his king- 
dom (M. 34, p. 107). 

In the second place, Voltaire calls Frederick 
the God of Paradise, which is a way of saying 
that he is the King of Eldorado, and by the 
following associations: Cirey is the terrestrial 
paradise (-of. Le Mondain), Cirey is also Eldo- 
rado, i. e., the Perou of Voltaire's Imagination, 
from the inexhaustible mines of which he ex- 
tracts his tresors d 'esprit. But Frederick is the 
King, and the only King, in the Kepublic of 
Letters, i. e., in the Land of the Imagination; 
he is the only roi qui se mele d'ecrire. He is 
therefore the King of Eldorado. He is " Divus 
Federicus" (M. 34, 426, p. 561), he is the 


" God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob " (M. 34, 
p. 317), i. e., he is the King, or the God of the 
Garden, the King, or the God of Paradise ; the 
King or the God of the New Jerusalem, in short, 
of the Utopia ou tout est bien, "where all is 

In the third place, Frederick's father had 
amassed des tonneaux tfor, Voltaire says (M. 
10, p. 312 and Marmontel's Memoires, 1, pp. 
265-266) ; he converted everything into money, 
all of which Frederick inherited. When Vol- 
taire came to Frederick's court he desired to 
have his share of this wealth. He drove a hard 
bargain with the King. He tried to get posses- 
sion of Saxon securities at a low figure, in de- 
fiance of the King's orders that there should be 
no speculation in them. (Cf. Herrig's Archiv, 
Vol. 16 (1906), pp. 429 ff.) Finally, he sent 
all his money out of the kingdom and prepared to 
leave the court for ever. He had, or he claimed 
to have had, the greatest difficulty in getting per- 
mission from the King to leave. Here, in the 
episode of Eldorado, Voltaire gives free vent to 
his terrible irony. Of course the King of Eldo- 
rado would not think of detaining a traveler in 
his kingdom ; Candide was at liberty to depart. 


He may also take with him the King's tresors 
d' esprit, le livre de poeshie du roi mon maitre. 
He is raised to the top of the heavens, au haul 
des deux, in a remarkable fashion; he departs 
with the " Golden Fleece," with " the great dia- 
mond of Pitt," with the " Sanci," with the " in- 
exhaustible treasures of the mines of Perou," 
all securely encased in red-bound sheep-skin, 
like the magnificent red-Morocco-bound volumes 
of the Anti-Machiavel which Van Duren was to 
send to the court of un ires-grand prince d'Al- 
lemagne. When he arrives at Surinam, i. e., 
when Voltaire arrives at Francfort, the one has 
to give up to Vanderdendur the two red sheep 
with their immense treasures, the other has to 
give up die von seiner Koniglichen Majestdt 
hochst eigenen Hdnden viele Brief e und Skrip- 
turen (cf. Voltaire in Frankfurt, 1753, Zsc. f. 
fr. Sp. u. U., Vol. 27, by Hermann Haupt), 
and, according to the Memoires pour servir a 
la vie de Voltaire, large sums of money, the 
equivalence of all that Voltaire had obtained 
from Frederick during his stay in Prussia. Thus 
the King of Eldorado, in the person of Vander- 
dendur, proves himself to be the God and the 
Robber of the Garden, i. e., Arbogad, who thun- 


ders, from among the trees of the Garden about 
Voltaire's "trunks," who had already kicked 
Candide out of the wooded Westphalian Garden, 
in the person of the old Baron Thunder-ten- 
tronekh, who proves himself to be "le roi des 
Bulgares" and "le roi des bougres," whose 
symbols are the flute of the satyr and great war- 
god Pan, i. e., the thunderer of the mountains, 
and the " comes du bouc " of the God of Moses, 
of Socrates, of Theodore de Beze, of Candide, 
whom the Genevan prophet and successor of 
Calvin loved, etc. One could make a series of 
equations several pages long for the protean 
forms of association under which Frederick ap- 
pears in Voltaire's novels. 

The assimilation of Frederick as Arbogad 
with the Dutch publisher Van Duren, the robber 
of the literary garden of Eden in which Vol- 
taire's imagination roved and from which he 
drew his tresors d' esprit leads us here to an in- 
vestigation of the literary brigandage of which 
Voltaire so often complained. How clearly the 
secret of Voltaire's symbolism comes out in the 
following couplet from his Discours sur I'Envie 
(M. 9, p. 395) : 


" vous qui de 1'honneur entrez dans la earriftre, 
Cette route a vous seul appartient-elle entire? " 

In other words, in the words of Arbogad, who 
gave you the right to say : Cette terre est a moif 
Is that land yours alone ? Who constituted you 
the despot of the Garden of the Imagination? 
By what right, do you justify your claim to be 
lord of all that you survey? What right has 
a publisher to seize Voltaire's work and deface 
it, and sell it to the world without rendering 
an account to the author? What right has a 
critic, like Desfontaines, to keep open booth, 
where he sells praise and blame to the highest 
bidder? What right has Rousseau to decry 
Zaire as a sermon against the grace efficace of 
the Jansenists? What right has Lefranc de 
Pompignan to pillage Metastasio, as Rousseau 
pillaged Marot and Rabelais? What right, if 
not the usurpation and tyranny of Arbogad, 
with his cry: Cette terre est a moif 

Like all the scribblers of Europe, Frederick 
was not a diamond of literature "by the grace 
of God." He hoped to become one, however, 
as did his conferes, with practice and with Vol- 
taire, i. e., with CunSgonde, Voltaire's muse, as 
blanchisseuse de son linge sale. What does the 


" grain of sand in the Republic of Letters " do ? 
Does he desist from writing? Is he content to 
remain, by convention, what he is by nature, an 
unknown atom in the immensity of the desert 
or of the ocean ? Voltaire tells us what he does 
in another apologue, quite similar to the one 
which started Arbogad on his career of plunder 
(M. 17, p. 570). In view of the enormous 
number of books in the world, he says, one 
would think that the person tempted to write 
would be discouraged and desist; but, on the 
contrary, he says to himself : " Those books are 
not read, and mine may be." He compares 
himself to the drop of water that complained 
at the thought of being lost in the immensity of 
the ocean. A spirit took pity on it and had it 
swallowed by an oyster. In a few years it 
became a beautiful pearl and graced the throne 
of the Great Mogul. So the wretched scribbler 
works away in his garret in the hope of becom- 
ing a pearl. Such people never think, they 
compile, they pillage the living and the dead, 
they rob the diamonds and the possessors of the 
diamonds, they besmirch the reputation of the 
great and noble and travesty virtue into vice. 
Voltaire makes, in his Discours sur I'Envie, 


an appeal to the gens de lettres to live without 
dissensions. They would then be like the noble 
trees of the mount of Parnassus, the lofty pines 
and the noble oaks, whose peaks touch the heav- 
ens, whose roots descend into the realm of the 
dead, whose branches cover the earth, and in 
whose shadow the vile serpents, the ravenous 
wolves, the envious robbers and brigands, give 
battle to each other and moisten their roots with 
their impure blood. The composition of this 
discourse points to the application of the rob- 
bers of the literary garden to the calumnies of 
Desfontaines and Rousseau. Voltaire images 
Rousseau under the picture of the hungry and 
tyrannical wolf of the forest, and Desfontaines 
under the serpent. It is the epoch of the Vol- 
tairomanie. Voltaire tells us that the persecu- 
tions to which he was subjected at this time in- 
spired him to write Mahomet. It is, at first, 
difficult to see the connection between the Vol- 
tairomanie and Mahomet. It is plain from the 
motto and the episode of Arbogad. C'est la 
manic de voter la terre, c'est-d-dire, la Vot- 
tairomanie. It is the period of the gobbling- 
up of lands and the gobbling-up of Voltaire. 
The mania manifested itself in Frederick lit- 


erally and equivocally; he seized Silesia, and 
lie tried to seize Voltaire. The mania mani- 
fested itself in the religious persecutions to 
which Voltaire was subjected in the name of 
the God of the Garden for the Lettres philo- 
sophiques, for the Mond&in, for the Elements de 
la philosophic de Newton. Above all, the mania 
manifested itself in the Voltairomanie of Des- 
fontaines, when Voltaire seemed to be deserted 
by all his friends, even those who owed him the 
greatest obligations. 

The success of Alzire, against the hope of 
Lefranc de Pompignan who had stolen the sub- 
ject and who had expected to present his trag- 
edy at the Thedtre-Frangais before Voltaire, 
aroused the enemies of the poet as never before. 
As Condorcet says, Cirey hid his person, but 
not his glory; he excited so much envy that he 
might be considered a prince. The culmination 
of this enmity and envy was the Voltairomanie 
of Desfontaines. "After that," he is repre- 
sented as saying, " Voltaire has nothing left to 
do except to go hang himself." To add to the 
despair of the poet, which was never more acute 
than at this time, unless it be at the time of his 
detention at Francfort, his best friends turned 


against him, especially Thieriot, who, like Arbo- 
gad, wished to drink his Champagne in peace 
(M. 35, p. 105, 147, 149) and amuse himself 
in the house of the fermier-generdl, La Pope- 
liniere, himself an Arbogad. Thieriot, the rob- 
ber of the subscriptions of the Henriade, seems 
to have associated himself with Desfontaines, 
who began the brigandage of which Voltaire 
complains by his fraudulent edition of the 
Henriade (M. 25, p. 584). Thus they come 
under the symbolism as a composite character. 
Even Voltaire's publishers turned against him. 
Mme. du Chatelet writes (M. 35, p. 265) that 
she has been obliged to keep from him I'hor- 
reur de ses libraires. Anonymous publications, 
forged by Rousseau and consummated by Des- 
fontaines, accusing him of atheism, found their 
way to the chief men in power at court, and 
Voltaire lived in fear of a lettre de cachet. 
False devots joined them and covered their fury 
of injuring him with the mantle of religion. 
Rumors that copies of the Pucelle were being 
circulated caused him mortal fear, as is so 
graphically described by Mme. de Grafigny. 
The mania of the French, probably justified by 
the practice of 18th century French authors, 


of seeing allusions to themselves in his char- 
acters is also the subject of his complaints. No 
career of honor was open to a man of letters in 
France, as in England. Addison would have 
been persecuted in France, because somebody 
would have recognized some traits of the por- 
trait d'un portier d'un homme en place in Cato. 
No sooner had Voltaire arrived in Paris, after 
an absence of about three years, when some one 
told Fleury that he had composed a life of the 
old Nestor-Cardinal. He was in the position 
of Damocles ; a trifle could prove his ruin. 

Voltaire had to fight against the brigandage 
of literature not only with his pen; or the at- 
tacks, at all events, were not limited to that in- 
strument. At least twice he had suffered assault 
and battery. The earliest case was that of the 
French officer and spy of the Regent, M. Solenne 
de Beauregard. The brigand Saint-Hyacinthe, 
whom Voltaire had known in Paris at the time 
of (Edipe, and whom he had met and expelled 
from his house as a common thief in London 
(i. e., if we are to believe his account, which, 
like so many of his accusations, is only true by 
symbolism), had written up this episode of 
Beauregard under the title of La Deification du 


docteur Aristarchus Masso, and had appended 
it to his new edition of Le chef-d'ceuvre d'un 
inconnu, ou Mathanasius in 1732 (M. 22, p. 
257 f.). In other words, it was, for Voltaire, 
the deification of the robber in the Republic of 
Letters, i. e., Arbogad. It seems that this satire 
on the poet was not known to him until Desfon- 
taines repeated it in the Voltairomanie (M. 23, 
p. 40, note). In that case, the letter of Voltaire 
which first makes mention of it (M. 33, p. 484) 
is certainly misdated and misplaced (Febru- 
ary 26, 1735 should be February 26, 1739). 
When Voltaire learned of it he sought a retrac- 
tion from Saint-Hyacinthe. He even threat- 
ened to take Saint-Hyacinthe's life if he did not 
signify that he did not have Voltaire in mind 
in the composition of his Deification. He tries 
to get a signed statement from Mile. Quinault 
that he had not been the victim of Beauregard, 
and that the story of Saint-Hyacinthe and its 
application to Voltaire was a calumny (M. 35, 
p. 155 f., and elsewhere). She showed him 
that there might be additional ridicule heaped 
upon him by such a declaration signed by mem- 
bers of the Comedie-Frangaise. Finally Vol- 
taire succeeded in getting from his enemy a 


declaration which is so good a characterization 
of Voltaire's own method of composition that I 
insert it here. It runs as follows (M. 35, 
p. 267) : 

"La Deification dont on parle n'est qu'un 
ouvrage d'imagination, un tissu de fictions qu'on 
a lie" ensemble pour en f aire un re"cit suivi. On 
y a eu en vue de marquer en general les def auts 
ou tombent les savants de divers genres et de 
diverses nations. On y a done etc" obliger d'i- 
maginer des choses particulie'res, qui, quoique 
rapportees comme des choses particulieres, ne 
doivent etre regardees que comme des genera- 
lite"s applicables a tous les savants qui peuvent 
tomber dans ces defauts. On ne peut faire une 
allegorie ni un caractere que 1'imagination d'un 
lecteur ne puisse appliquer a quelqu'un que 
1'auteur meme n'aura jamais vu. Ainsi ce qui 
n'aura, dans un ouvrage de fiction, qu'un objet 
general, en devient un particulier par la malig- 
nite d'une fausse interpretation. Si cela est 
permis, monsieur, il ne faut plus songer a ecrire, 
a moins que le public, plus reserve", ne juge de 
1'intention d'un auteur conformement au but 
general de 1'ouvrage, et qu'il ne fasse retomber 
sur 1'interprete la malignite de 1'interpretation." 


That is as far as Saint-Hyacinthe would ever 
go, and, as a matter of fact, he could not go fur- 
ther without dishonoring himself; for it is un- 
doubted that he did have Voltaire in mind. It 
seems that Voltaire never made use of this ex- 
position of the methods of the realistic-symbolic 
author of the eighteenth century. It would not 
have convinced anybody, if he had. It would 
never have occurred to any one, even to the 
most malin faiseur ^interpretations to apply 
the Deification to a person whom the author 
had never known, as he suggests in his apology. 
In the literary wars of the eighteenth century 
one did not fire into the blue air; one aimed at 
the heart of one's enemy. 

It is very likely that Voltaire had Beaure- 
gard in mind in the composition of the episode 
of Arbogad, and for the following reasons, (1) 
because Arbogad is an exact anagramme of 
Beauregard, with the equivalence of the diph- 
thong and the simple vowel "o" admitted, (2) 
because Beauregard was a spy and officer in the 
service of the Regent, the "God-Father," the 
Joachim Prepucier, father and husband of the 
Pucelle, and (3), because Voltaire has described 
in Zadig the other beating to which he was sub- 


jected, that of Rohan-Chabot, under similar 
symbolism, that of Orcan. 

Voltaire rounds out his symbolism in many 
ways and makes connections which it is not 
easy to follow. He realized, as did few authors 
in the century of Rousseau, that there was no 
possibility of equality among men. He praises 
the sentiment of Milton (M. 36, p. 107): 
"Amongst equals no society." That, to him, 
was an obvious proof that the paradise of our 
first parents was foolish. What Voltaire proved, 
in one of his Discours en vers sur I'homme, was 
the equality of conditions. There is no reason 
why the grain of sand in the desert should not 
be just as good and just as happy as the dia- 
mond in the crown of the Great Mogul. There 
must be grains of sand and drops of water. If 
the grains of sand and the drops of water are 
not just as happy and just as good as the dia- 
monds and the pearls, it is because of envy. 
With their eyes green with envy they raise their 
cry for equality of temporal possessions. Now 
both the Rousseau had incurred Voltaire's en- 
mity by their meditations on the origin of ine- 
quality among men (cf. Voltaire's reference to 
the elder Rousseau's galimatias M. 24, p. 223: 


Paralelle d' Horace, de Boileau, de Pope). They 
both paint the state of nature as a paradise 
where all is well, because all were equal. Com- 
pare the following quotations from Jean-Bap- 
tiste Rousseau with the famous paradoxes of 
Jean- Jacques (CEuvres de Jean Baptiste Rous- 
seau, Vol. 1, p. 468 ff.) : 

w lls vivaient tous egalement heureux; 
Et la nature etait riche pour euz. 
Toute la terre etait leur heritage. 
L'egalite faisait tout leur partage. 
Chacun etait et son juge et son roi." 

Then discord was produced by intellectual 
curiosity, by scientific aspirations. People be- 
gan to ask themselves these questions : Comment 
s'est fait tout ce que nous voyons? Pourquoi 
ce ciel, ces astres, ces rayons? Then Rousseau 
apostrophizes Reason: 

" Folle raison ! lumiere deplorable 
Qui n'insinue a 1'horame miserable 
Que le mepris d'une simplicite 
Si necessaire a sa f elicite ! " 

As a result of this intellectual curiosity ques- 
tions, doubts, discussions, disputes, factions 
arose, and with them inequality. 


" Ainsi chacun ne sougeant plus qu'a soi, 
On cut besoin pour preVenir les guerres 
De recourir au partage des terres; 
Et d'un seul peuple, on vit dans 1'univers, 
Naitre en un jour mille peuples divers." 

With the division of the surface of the earth 
and the formation of different peoples all the 
bonds of friendship were broken by self-interest ; 
avarice, theft, treason, perjury, were visible on 
all sides. To better establish her empire Moro- 
sophie (i. e., Folly) invented the art of writ- 
ing, and a thousand other arts more detestable 
still, from which was born the most detestable 
of all our enemies, Luxury, which makes the 
poor man feel his poverty : 

" Le luxe, ami de 1'oisive mollesse, 
Qui parmi nous signalant sa souplesse, 
Introduisit par cent divers canaux 
La pauvrete", le plus dur de nos maux." 

That was just the opposite of Voltaire's phil- 
osophy, and, indeed, the Mondain was composed 
purely and simply as a sermon against just 
such ideas. Likewise, the old Rousseau was 
constantly mingling Providence with his 
wretched little affairs, proving, to his own 
satisfaction, that this world, as in the system 


of Leibnitz and the religion of the Jansenists, 
was under the immediate direction of God, and 
that the prosperity of the wicked was only the 
effect of God's wrath, which would be visited 
upon their heads in ways which we know not 
(op. cit., p. 445) : 

" Et qu'en un mot se desordre apparent 
Dont ici has le cahos vous surprend, 
Est un nuage, un voile necessaire 
Qui confondant votre orgueil temeraire, 
Cache a vos yeux de tenebres converts 
L'ordre regie" qui regit 1'univers." 

His ordre regie, however, was the " individual- 
istic" Providence of the Jansenists. 

The same thoughts are at the bottom of Jean 
Jacques Rousseau's diatribes against inequality 
and in favor of Providence. 

Curiosity, the origin of the arts and sciences, 
the necessity of leisure, luxury, all these things 
hang together in the relation of cause and effect. 
The poor man is poor just because the rich man 
is rich, and the rich man enjoys his wealth only 
in proportion to the misery of the poor man! 
"H faut des jus dans nos cuisines, voila pour- 
quoi tant de malades manquent de bouillon; il 
faut des liqueurs sur nos tables ; voila pourquoi 


le paysan ne boit que de 1'eau; il faut de la 
poudre a nos perruques ; voila pourquoi tant de 
pauvres n'ont point de pain." To this M. 
Bordes well replies: "S'il n'y avait point de 
luxe, il n'y aurait que des pauvres." The whole 
argument of his prize discourse is that God 
placed us in a state of ignorance, covering 
from our eyes all the operations of nature with 
a heavy veil as if to warn us not to seek to 
penetrate her secrets; there are no kinds of 
knowledge which are not hidden from us; the 
sciences are like dangerous weapons which a 
mother snatches from her children and hides 
from them. 

Voltaire had connected the old Rousseau 
with his symbolism of Arbogad; he had much 
more reason to connect the young Rousseau 
with similar creations in Candide. The old 
Rousseau, writing against Zaire and weeping 
from envy, himself the author of comedies 
sifflees, and the young Rousseau, thundering 
against the comedy from his old donjon open to 
the four winds of heaven, likewise~tne author 
of comedies sifflees, were too much alike not to 
be associated by Voltaire, even if they were not 
already associated by virtue of their name. 


Pangloss, in Oandide, is a composite portrait 
of the two Rousseau, and the younger Rousseau 
appears in several other characters and episodes 
of the novel, namely, wherever there is a symbol 
of spoken nonsense, of carnosity, of intolerance, 
of envy, of wine-bibbing, of inequality in the 
person of a domestic, and as part and parcel of 
Thunder-ten-tronckh and the King of Eldorado. 
It would seem as if Jean Jacques had read 
and mistaken the import of the episode of Arbo- 
gad. Voltaire lashed in this character the 
symbol of brigandage and of tyranny. He had 
come after the lots had been cast, had dispos- 
sessed the rightful owners, had robbed and slain 
in the name of the Deity in him incorporate. 
It would seem that Jean Jacques saw in it 
nothing but the source of all our ills, as the 
bearer of the idea of ownership, without refer- 
ence to the manner in which ownership was 
attained. He begins the second part of his 
Discours sur I'origine et les fondements de 
I'inegalite parmi les homines with the symbol 
of Arbogad : " The man who first staked out a 
portion of the earth and said: This land is 
mine, and found people to believe him, is the 
source of all our woes. He would have been 


the greatest benefactor of the race who should 
have pulled up his stakes and said to him: 
Les fruits sont a tons, la terre n'est a personne/' 
Voltaire annotated Rousseau's fine paradoxes 
with marginal remarks. This is his note to the 
above (M. 32, p. 470) : " Quoi ! celui qui a 
plante, seme, et enclos, n'a pas le droit aux 
fruits de sa peine ? Quoi ! un homme in juste 
et voleur aurait ete le bienfaiteur du genre 
humain ! Voila la philosophic d'un gueux ! " 
In other words, voild la philosophic d* Arbogad. 
And when this gueux, this "Arbogad," began 
to put his philosophy into practice; when he 
began to declaim against Voltaire's pet hobby, 
the theatre; when, in conjunction with other 
Arbogad, he began to cause persecution against 
Voltaire and the Encyclopedists, so that the 
author of Zadig felt obliged to give up his little 
estate within the territory of Geneva, and mi- 
grate to Ferney, where Arbogad could not say : 
Cette terre est a moi et tout ce que vous avez 
m'appartient de droit divin; then, indeed, it 
was time for the author of the episode of Arbo- 
gad to get his symbols out of the cedar chest 
and set them into motion on his miniature 
theatre de la vie humaine. That is just what 


he did in Candide, where Arbogad appears pri- 
marily in Thunder-ten-tronckh ; for the brigand 
has raised again his well known cry : Cette terre 
esi a moi. Frederick was thundering at the 
gates of Leipzig, the birth-place of Leibnitz; 
Rousseau was thundering at the gates of Les 
Delices, which, like the home of Leibnitz, was 
the pays ou tout est bien. The Socinians of 
Geneva and the Jesuits and the Jansenists had 
united to thunder at the gates of the Encyclo- 
pedia; in short, from the straits of Gibraltar 
to the straits of Magellan and the farthest In- 
dies the Lord of Hosts was hurling his thunder- 
bolts, i. e., Arbogad was supreme. 



THE episode of the Angel and the Hermit has 
always been considered as the bearer of the phil- 
osophic thesis of the novel Zadig. It is inj.- 
portant, therefore, that we consider it in some 

This is the episode. 

In the tournament to decide who shall be 
King of Babylon and husband of Astarte Zadig 
has triumphed over all contestants. While he 
is resting from the fatigues of the day, Itobad, 
the most vain and the most ridiculous of all the 
combatants, steals the white armor given to 
Zadig by the Queen, and puts his own green 
armor in its place. He then presents himself 
to the chief Magian, declaring that an homme 
comme lui is the victor, and is proclaimed King 
of Babylon while Zadig is still sleeping. When 
Zadig awakes he is obliged to don the green 
armor of Itobad, because he has nothing else to 
put on. He sallies forth in it and is ill-treated 


by the rabble, who mistake him for Itobad. 
Zadig finally breaks through the ranks of his 
persecutors and walks, in great perturbation, 
along the banks of the Euphrates, persuaded 
that his evil star destines him to irremediable 

" That's what comes of waking up too late," 
he says to himself. "If I had slept less I 
should now be King of Babylon and husband 
of Astarte." He murmurs against Providence. 
He feels that all his wisdom, his morals, his 
courage, avail him nothing; on the contrary, 
they only serve to his misfortune. 

In this mood he exchanges his green armor 
for a long robe and a cowl, and then continues 
his walk along the Euphrates. He soon meets 
a venerable hermit, who is reading in the book 
of fate. Zadig is versed in many languages, 
but he finds himself unable to read a word in 
this book. The hermit asks Zadig for permis- 
sion to accompany him; he has sometimes, he 
says, been a source of consolation to the unfor- 
tunate. Zadig feels respect for the venerable 
air of the hermit, for his beard, and for his 
book, and is glad to have his company. The 
hermit discourses on destiny, justice, morality, 


the sovereign good, human frailty, vice, virtue, 
and with such lively eloquence that Zadig is 
more and more attracted to him, and finally, at 
the request of the hermit, promises not to quit 
him for three days, no matter what may happen. 
The two travelers are received the first night 
in the castle of a great lord, who exercises lavish 
hospitality for the sake of vanity and ostenta- 
tion. The hermit steals from him a large basin 
of gold, adorned with emeralds and rubies. 
Zadig is surprised, but says nothing. They 
next come to the house of a rich miser, who has 
some bad food given to them in a stable, where 
a servant watches them that they may not steal 
anything. To this servant the hermit gives 
two gold pieces which he had received from his 
host of the night before, and asks to be brought 
into the presence of his master. The hermit 
thanks profusely the rich miser for his hospi- 
tality and presents to him the precious basin 
which he had stolen. The miser nearly faints. 
The hermit and Zadig take advantage of his 
confusion and depart. Zadig can no longer 
contain his surprise; he asks the meaning of 
such strange conduct. His companion assures 
him that their first host, whose hospitality was 


due to his vanity, will be wiser in the future, 
while the miser will be hospitable to strangers 
from this time on. Zadig could not determine 
whether he had to do with a madman or with 
the wisest of men, and he continued to follow 

They arrive at the house of a philosopher who 
was neither prodigal nor avaricious, and who 
cultivated wisdom and virtue without ever feel- 
ing bored by them. His treatment of the 
strangers is simple, courteous, hospitable. The 
conversation turns on Providence and the pas- 
sions of men. " How baneful the passions are," 
exclaims Zadig. The hermit assures him that 
they are the winds which swell the sails of the 
vessel; they submerge it sometimes, it is true, 
but it could not sail without them. The bile 
makes one choleric and ill, but without it we 
could not live. Everything is necessary here 
below, and everything is dangerous. He con- 
tends that men are wrong to " juger d'un tout, 
dont ils n'aperc.oivent que la plus petite partie." 
The next morning, as a mark of esteem for his 
host, the hermit sets fire to his house and flees, 
drawing Zadig after him. Dieu merd, dit-il, 
voild la maison de mon cher hote detruite de 


fond en comble! L'heureux homme! At these 
words Zadig is tempted to burst out laughing, 
to reproach the reverend pere, to beat him, and 
to run away, all at the same time; but he does 
none of these things, he continues to follow him 
to their last stopping place. 

They are taken in by a charitable and virtu- 
ous widow, who has a nephew of fourteen, her 
only hope and consolation. The next morning 
she orders the youth, in the kindness of her 
heart, to accompany her guests to a bridge, 
which, recently broken, might prove dangerous 
passage to them. The hermit, as a mark of 
gratitude to his hostess, catches her nephew by 
the hair and throws him into the river, where 
he drowns miserably. Zadig breaks out in 
horror at this treacherous act ; he calls his com- 
panion a monster and the most execrable of men. 
The hermit interrupts him and deigns to ex- 
plain. Under the ruins of the house to which 
Providence has set fire the philosopher will find 
an immense treasure. The youth whose neck 
Providence has wrung, would, had he lived, 
have assassinated his good aunt within a year, 
and Zadig within two. Qui te I'd dit, barbare ? 
cries Zadig ; et quand tu aurais lu cet evenement 


dans ton livre des destinees, t'est-il permis de 
noyer un enfant qui ne t'a point fait de mal? 
While Zadig is still speaking he perceives that 
the hermit is being metamorphosed: his beard 
has disappeared, his features have grown youth- 
ful, four fair wings cover a majestic body re- 
splendent with light. Zadig prostrates himself, 
crying: envoy e du del! 6 ange divin! tu es 
done descendu de I'empyree pour apprendre a 
un faible mortel a se soumettre aux ordres 

Les hommes, said the angel Jesrad, jugent de 
tout sans rien connaitre: tu etais celui de tons 
les hommes qui meritais le plus d'etre eclaire. 

Zadig asks permission to question the angel; 
he lacked confidence, he said, in his own judg- 
ment, and wished to have his doubts cleared up. 

"Would it not have been better," he asks, 
"to have corrected that youth, and made him 
virtuous, than to drown him?" 

"If he had become virtuous," replied the 
angel, "and had lived it would have been his 
destiny to have been assassinated himself, with 
the woman whom he would have married, and 
the child that was to be born of their union." 

Zadig asks: "But why is it necessary that 


there should be crimes and misfortune^, and 
that good people should be their victims ? " 

The angel replied that the wicked were always 
unhappy. " They serve to try the small num- 
ber of the just scattered about the earth. Be- 
sides," he added, "there is no evil from which 
good does not result." 

" But if there were only good, and no evil ? " 
asks Zadig. 

" Then," replied the angel, " this earth would 
be a different earth, the concatenation of events 
would be a different order of wisdom ; and that 
order, which would be perfect, could only be in 
the eternal abode of the supreme being, whom 
evil can not approach. He has created millions 
of worlds, of which no one can resemble the 
other. This immense variety is an attribute 
of his immense power. There are no two leaves 
of a tree on the earth, nor two globes in the 
infinite space of the heavens, which are alike, 
and all that you see on the little atom where you 
were born, had to be, in the time and place 
fixed for it, according to the immutable laws 
of him who embraces everything. Men think 
that that child, who has just been drowned, fell 
into the water by chance, but there is no chance : 

JE8EAD 237 

everything is ' trial, or punishment, or reward, 
or foresight.' Remember the fisherman whom 
you thought the most unfortunate of all men. 
Orosmade sent you to change his destiny. 
Feeble mortal! cease to dispute against what 
you must adore." 

"But . . . ," said Zadig; but as he said 
" but," the angel Jesrad took his flight towards 
the tenth sphere. Zadig, on his knees, adored 
Providence, and submitted. The angel cried to 
him from the heights of the air to take his way 
back to Babylon. 

Zadig returned to Babylon, still in cowl and 
gown, or, as he calls it, in bonnet de nuit et robe 
de chambre, and met with a most loving recep- 
tion ; the people feasted their eyes on him. He 
easily divined the enigmas of time and life, 
and then, still in gown and cowl, easily over- 
came Itobad, thus making himself King of 
Babylon and husband of Astarte. Under the 
reign of Zadig and Astarte the empire enjoyed 
peace, glory, and abundance, because it was 
governed by Justice and Love. People blessed 
Zadig, Zadig blessed heaven, and adored Provi- 

The question of the interpretation of this 


episode has already been, in a large measure, 
disposed of, but the arguments that have been 
presented may be summed up here, and, wher- 
ever necessary, elaborated. The chief point to 
be kept in mind is that, in view of all that has 
gone before, this episode must be considered in 
reference to Voltaire's life. The immediate 
point of contact between this episode and Vol- 
taire's life is his efforts to get into the French 
Academy : he wanted to become one of the elus, 
but "many are called and few chosen." He 
had every quality, with the sole exception of 
religion. He proceeded to remedy this defect. 
He wrote to the Archbishop of Sens, on whom 
he so often emptied the vials of his ridicule, to 
give public testimony to his submission to the 
dogmas of the ' Christian religion (M. 36, p. 
191 ff.), but he was not explicit enough. He 
wrote to Mirepoix in the same vein. Frederick 
expressed his astonishment at this turn of af- 
fairs (M. 36, p. 208) : 

"Depuis quand, dites-moi, Voltaire, 
Etes-vous de"genere? 
Chez un philosophe epure, 
Quoi ! la grace efficace opere ! 
Par Mirepoix endoctrine, 


Et tout asperge" d'eau benite, 
Abattu d'un jeune obstine", 
Allez-vous devenir ermitef 
D'un ton saintement nasillard, 
Et marraottant quelque priere, 
En baillant lisant le breviaire, 
On vous enrole a Saint-Medard, 
Avec indulgence pleniere." 

Voltaire writes to Cideville from The Hague, 
indicating how he intended to become one of 
the elus (M. 36, p. 215) : 

" Je veux, en partant de Berlin, 
Demander justice au saint-pere; 
J'irai baiser son pied divin 
Et chez vous je viendrai soudain 
Avec indulgence ple'niere. 
Je veux avoir enfin Rome pour mon amie, 
Et, malgre quelques vers hardis, 
Je veux etre un 61u dans le__gainl paradis, 
Si je suis reprouve" dans votre Academie." 

Frederick calls this hypocrisy of Voltaire the 
"bending of the knee of the minister of truth 
to the idol of superstition" (M. 36, p. 208). 

That Voltaire realized the import of what he 
was doing and submitted to it only as one sub- 
mits to the inevitable is obvious from his letters 
to the Comte d'Argenson and to Thieriot. To 


the former he writes (M. 36, p. 221) : II (i. e., 
Mirepoix) prend assurement un bien mauvais 
parti, et il fait plus de mal qu'il ne pense. II 
devrait savoir que c'est un metier bien triste de 
faire des hypocrites. To the latter he expresses 
himself similarly (M. 36, p. 297) : II faudrait 
que la vertu ne fut point oblige de rendre hom- 
mage au fanatisme et a I'hypocrisie. 

Before continuing with the episode of Jesrad, 
it will be necessary to explain the episode of the 
Combats, in which the opposition to Voltaire's 
candidacy to the French Academy is symbolized 
in the character of Itobad. It is only because 
Itobad stole the honor due to their merit that 
Voltaire and Zadig are obliged to have recourse 
to the divine. 

In his Memoire against the libels to which he 
had been subjected in 1739, and which were 
renewed by the poet Eoi in 1744, Voltaire seems 
to point to Desfontaines and Jean Jacques Le- 
franc de Pompignan, with the possible inclusion 
of the old poet Crebillon. He protests that he 
is not a satirist (M. 32, p. 460 f.), and that he 
never refused praise and honor where they were 


due. Lefranc need only publish his tragedy, 
on the same theme as Voltaire's Alzire, to see 
how ready Voltaire will be to show appreciation 
of his talents. Crebillon need only produce his 
Catilina to meet with the same generous treat- 
ment. At the end of the Memoire he seizes the 
pen from the hand of the copyist to inform the 
world in his own hand what he intends to do 
in the face of persecution : he will take a lesson 
from the characters that he has created in 
Alzire; he will arm himself with that probity 
which he has depicted in all his works, comme 
ces anciens qui se couvraient des armes fabri- 
quees par leurs mains. That is, since he is 
speaking of the tragedy which he had dedi- 
cated to Mme. du Chatelet, his muse, he 
will arm himself with the white armor given 
to him by Astarte, Queen of Babylon. In 
Zadig that armor was stolen from him by 
Itobad; but who, in Voltaire's life is repre- 
sented by Itobad? Certainly the man or men 
who forced him to play the role of the hypo- 
crite, and the man or men who besmirched his 
honor. They were Maurepas and Mirepoix, the 
Archbishop of Sens and the Archbishop of 
Strasburg; they were Lefranc de Pompignan 


who stole the subject of Alzire, and of whose 
persecutions Voltaire complains frequently in 
this period ; Crebillon, who opposed his tragedy 
Mahomet, and especially Desfontaines who de- 
nounced this tragedy, who accused Voltaire of 
atheism, who furnished to Voltaire's enemies in 
1744 the satires which the poet Eoi made use of 
to defeat Voltaire's candidacy to the French 
Academy, and of whom Voltaire wrote (M. 8, 
p. 423) : 

" Mais 1'ingrat devore d'envie, 
Trompette de la calomnie, 
Qui cherche a fletrir mon honneur, 
Voila le ravisseur coupable, 
Voila 'e larcin detestable." 

In other words: Voila le larcin d'ltobad, le 
ravisseur des armes blanches de Zadig. 

]STow there are two circumstances that offer 
unmistakable proof of the application of Itobad 
to such men as those already mentioned: his 
fatuity, his repetition of the phrase un Tiomme 
comme moi, and his title of monseigneur. 
These two circumstances show that Itobad is a 
composite character, made up of the fatuous 
man of letters and the dignitary of the church. 
The following references will establish that. 


The very first instance of the expression un 
homme comme moi to be found in Voltaire's 
correspondence is the use made of it by Des- 
fontaines in his first letter to Voltaire (M. 33, 
p. 110). This wretched scribbler writes as fol- 
lows to his benefactor: "Je suis trop connu 
dans le monde pour qu'il convienne a un homme 
comme moi de me taire apres un si execrable 
affront." Later, after the beginning of hostili- 
ties between him and Voltaire, he wrote to the 
poet in the most fatuous vein (M. 33, p. 569) : 
" Qui vous jugera, si vous vous recusez ? Je 
veux bien que vous sachiez qu'en toutes sortes 
de matieres, et meme surjos ouvrages de poesie, 
je suis en etat de vous dor :r des conseils, ay ant 
1'etude et le jugement necessaires, et un gout 
qui passe pour assez sur." He refers to Vol- 
taire's apology for the tutoiement of the Mort 
de Cesar, which, he says, has given rise to a 
thousand jests. He asks him if he remembers 
that the tutoiement was the source of his affair 
of 1725, and adds: Le vers de Lamotte: taisez- 
vous, me dis-tu, me parait admirable au- 
jourd'hui. He tells Voltaire that he does not 
wish to have any quarrel with him, but if there 
is one he will get the better of him both by the 


justice of his reasons and by the authority 
which he has acquired in the Republic of Letters, 
and will make him pass pour le Claudien du 
siecle: car, en matiere de theatre, il ne serait 
pas seulement question de vous. 

It is a matter of the greatest astonishment to 
us that this obscure wretch, whose very name 
would have been forgotten but for Voltaire, 
should have used such language. His fatuous 
use of un homme comme moi, and his reference 
to the tutoiement which caused Voltaire's 
"affaire of 1725" and the verse of Lamotte: 
taisez-vous, me dis-tu, indicate the meaning of 
the name Itobad. Voltaire uses an anagramme, 
Iro, to represent the name of the poet Roi, whose 
fatuity we will discuss in a moment. Herbelot 
gives the significance of bad as " wind," and we 
have seen that Herbelot is largely Voltaire's 
authority. Is is not likely that Itobad means 
the blatant fellow who is always saying of him- 
self, moi, moi, un homme comme moi, and of 
other people and to them: toi, toi, un homme 
comme toi; a fellow who criticizes Voltaire's 
tragedy for the tutoiement, and who points to 
some misfortunes which the use of tu, toi, 
brought upon Voltaire in 1725 ? And what was 


this misfortune? We know of no affair except 
that of Rohan-Chabot. Is it possible that Vol- 
taire's misfortune was caused by some use of 
the second personal pronoun to the worthless 
cadet of a great house ? Or did Rohan-Chabot 
resent Voltaire's tutoiement of Mile. Lecouv- 
reur? At all events this interpretation of the 
name and its application to Desfontaines is 
strengthened by Desfontaines' fatuous refer- 
ences to himself in the Voltairomanie. He calls 
himself un homme de qualite, says Voltaire (M. 
23, p. 25), parce quil a un frere auditeur des 
comptes a Rouen; homme de bonnes tnceurs, 
because he was only a few days at Bicetre; he 
compares himself to Despreaux, because he com- 
posed a work in verse ; he boasts that he always 
goes with a laquais, but neglects to say whether 
the laquais is before or behind. 

The fatuity of Desfontaines was not the ex- 
ception but the rule among Voltaire's enemies. 
At the time that he was bending every effort to 
get into the French Academy the Abbe de 
Bernis, who had just been elected, and whose 
meteoric career of favor with the Pompadour 
was rising to its apogee, was preparing to praise, 
in his Discours de reception, that other symbol 


of Envie, the poet Eoi (M. 36, p. 330). Vol- 
taire can scarce restrain his indignation. He 
writes to d'Argental to see Bernis and get him 
to omit his praise. "Eoi de grands talents! 
quatre ou cinq scenes de ballet; des vers medi- 
ocres, dans un genre tres-mediocre : voila de 
plaisants talents! Y a-t-il de quoi racheter les 
horreurs de sa vie?" Eoi himself writes to 
the lieutenant general de police (M. 36, p. 437) 
as follows: "Au retour de la~campagne, ou 
j'etais alle ensevelir mon chagrin sur la mort 
de ma soeur, j'ai appris que ma reputation etait 
vivement attaquee par le sieur de Voltaire. . . . 
L'homme qui veut etre a toute force mon ennemi 
me choisit entre tous les siens pour m'imputer 
tout ce qui s'ecrit contre lui : il craint que je ne 
fusse son concurrent a 1'Academie, moi dont 
1'indifference ou la retenue sur ce vain titre est 
connu de toute la France. ... II pretexte sa 
calomnie de 1'envie que me doit causer son ta- 
lent, et du chagrin qu'il me fait en donnant ses 
ouvrages lyriques a la cour et a la ville. En 
verite, monsieur, ai-je perdu a la comparaison, 
et dois-je etre mortifie ? " And he is the fellow 
who claimed that Voltaire "lui avait rendu la 


But perhaps the greatest fatuity was observed 
in Lefranc de Pompignan, whose very name has 
something of the pretentious, the pompous, 
about it. At the time when he stole Voltaire's 
subject of Alzire and prepared to have his 
tragedy presented before Voltaire's at the 
Theatre-Francois, the comedians desired to hear 
his tragedy read a second time to them be- 
fore proceeding with the distribution of the 
roles. This little provincial, who had produced 
nothing but his tragedy of Didon, who was a 
plagiary, Voltaire says, and known largely for 
his friendship for Kousseau and Desfontaines, 
wrote as follows to the directors of the Theatre- 
Frangais (M. 10, p. 105): "Je suis fort sur- 
pris, messieurs, que vous exigez une seconde 
lecture d'une tragedie telle que Zora'ide. Si 
vous ne vous connaissez pas en merite, je me 
connais en precedes, et je me souviendrai assez 
longtemps des votres pour ne plus m'occuper 
d'un theatre ou 1'on distingue si peu les per- 
sonnes et les talents." 

Voltaire had already described this type of 
man in his English Letters (M. 22, p. Ill) : 
"Whoever comes from the provinces with 
money and a name in -ac or -ille, can say: Un 


homme c&mme moi, un Tiomme de qualite. Such 
a man despises a merchant; he would never 
think of working for a living. He is like the 
numerous descendants of the noble houses of 
Germany who have nothing but their name and 
sovereign prideV' 

One of the contradictions that Voltaire notes 
in France (M. 22, p. 25) is that a bishop, who 
preaches humility and is vowed to poverty, re- 
fuses, his door to anyone who does not call him 
Monseigneur, whereas a marshal of France, who 
commands 100,000 men, is content with Mon- 
sieur. So Itobad has himself called Monsei- 
gneur by his servants. Voltaire follows his usual 
practice, in raising individual enemies in the 
Republic of Letters into the domain of religion : 
Itobad becomes the representative of the bla- 
tancy of the clergy. This seems all the more 
probable from a similar episode, that of Irax, 
which was first published by the Kehl editors, 
and which we will consider here. 

Complaints came every day to the court 
against the Itimadoulet de Medie, named Irax. 
" C'etait un grand seigneur dont le fonds n'etait < v 


pas mauvais, mais qui etait corrompu par la 
vanite et par la volupte. II souffrait rarement 
qu'on lui parlat, et jamais qu'on 1'osat contre- 
dire. Les paons ne sont pas plus vains, les 
colombes ne sont pas plus voluptueuses, les tor- 
tues ont moins de paresse; il ne respirait que 
la fausse gloire et les faux plaisirs." Zadig 
undertook to correct him. He sent him a music 
master, with twelve voices and twenty-four 
violinists, a chef, with six cooks and four cham- 
berlains, who were never to quit Irax for a 
moment. , The musicians were to sing a cantata, 
lasting two hours, the refrain of which, recur- 
ring at intervals of three minutes, was as fol- 

" Que son merite est extreme ! 

Que de graces! que de grandeur! 
Ah! combien monseigneur 

Doit etre content de lui-meme ! " 

After the execution of the cantata a chamber- 
lain made a harangue of three quarters of an 
hour in which Irax was praised expressly for 
the qualities which he lacked. Then he was 
conducted to dinner at the sound of instruments. 
The dinner lasted three hours, and as soon as 
Irax opened his mouth to speak, the first cham- 


berlain said: II aura raison. Hardly had he 
uttered four words when the second chamber- 
lain cried : II a raison. The other two chamber- 
lains laughed loudly at the bons mots which 
Irax said or which he ought to have said. After 
dinner the cantata was repeated. At first Irax 
thought that the King was honoring him ac- 
cording to his merit, but he soon got tired of the 
regime, and promised to be less vain and to 
apply himself to some useful labor. II se fit 
moins encenser, eui moins de fetes, et fut plus 
heureux; car, comme dit le Sadder, toujours 
du plaisir nest pas du plaisir. 

The realistic basis of this episode is obvious 
when it is applied to Jean Jacques Lefranc de 
Pompignan. Marmontel visited Voltaire at 
Ferney when the Patriarch was " hunting Pom- 
pignan every morning, in accordance with his 
doctor's orders, for his health." Indeed, Ma,r- 
montel says, Voltaire seemed to have grown ten 
years younger from this exercise. Of Lefranc 
Marmontel says (Memoires, Vol. I, p. 413) : 
" L'exces de sa vanite, de sa presomtion, de son 
ambition 1'avait enivre. Malheureusement trop 
flatte dans ses academies de Montauban et de 
Toulouse, accoutume a s'y entendre applaudir 


des qu'il ouvrait la bouche, et meme avant 
qu'il eut parle vante dans les journaux dont 
il savait gagner ou payer la f aveur, il se croyait 
un homme d'importance en litterature; et par 
malheur encore il avait ajoute a 1'arrogance 
d'un seigneur de paroisse 1'orgueil d'un presi- 
dent de cour superieure dans sa ville de Mon- 
tauban; ce qui formait un personnage ridicule 
dans tous les points. D'apres 1'opinion qu'il 
avait de lui-meme, il avait trouve malhonnete 
qu'a la premiere envie qu'il avait temoignee 
d'etre de 1' Academic franchise, on ne se fut 
pas empresse a 1'y recevoir; et, lorsqu'en 1758, 
Sainte-Palaye y avait eu sur lui la preference, 
il en avait marque un superbe depit. Deux 
ans apres, 1' Academic n'avait pas laisse de 
lui accorder ses souffrages; et il n'y avait pour 
lui que de 1'agrement dans 1'unanimite de son 
election; mais, au lieu de la modestie que les 
plus grands homines eux-memes affectaient, au 
moins en y entrant, il y apporta 1'humeur de 
1'orgueil offense, avec un exces d'aprete et de 
hauteur inconcevable." 

Voltaire undertook to correct ce grave magis- 
trat, qui vint de Montauban pour gouverner 
I'Etat (M. 10, p. 415), who thought the whole 


universe occupied with his literary productions. 
He did this in the series of satires known as 
the Monosyllables, the verses on Vanity, the 
Hymne chante au village de Pompignan, etc. 
Of these satires we may quote from the Qui and 
from the Hymne. The first is typical of the 
Monosyllables (M. 10, p. 562) : 

" Qui pilla jadis Metastase, 
Et Qui crut imiter Maron? 
Qui, bouffi d'ostentation, 
Sur ses ecrits est en extase? 
Qui si longuement paraphrase 
David en de"pit d'Apollon, 
Pretendant passer pour un vase 
Qu'on appelle d'election? 
Qui, parlant a sa nation, 
Et Pinsultant avec emphase, 
Pense etre au haut de PHelicon 
Lorsqu'il barbote dans la vase? 
Qui dans plus d'une periphrase 
A ses maitres fait la lecon? 
Entre nous, je crois que son nom 
Commence en V, et finit en aze." 

The Hymne chante au village de Pompignan 
(M. 10, p. 569) probably furnished the idea 
for the cantata of the episode of Irax. The fol- 
lowing verses show its nature : 

.IKS RAD 253 

"Je suis marquis, robin, poete, 

Mes chers amis; 
Vous voyez que je suis prophete 

En mon pays. 

A Paris c'est tout autrement. 
Et vive le roi, et Simon Le Franc, 

Son favori, son favori! 
"J'ai fait un psautier judai'que, 

On n'en sait rien; 
J'ai fait un beau pane'gyrique, 

Et c'est le mien : 
De moi je suis content. 
Et vive le roi, et Simon Le Franc, 

Son favori, son favori." 

The part of the episode dealing with the 
harangue and the dinner was probably sug- 
gested by the satire of Voltaire (M. 24, p. 461), 
entitled Relation du Voyage de M. le Marquis 
Lefranc de Pompignan depuis Pompignan 
jusqu'a Fontainebleau. Pompignan is repre- 
sented as speaking. He describes a sermon and 
procession of which he was the hero; also a 
repast of twenty-six covers dont il sera parle a 
jamais. In this sermon (M. 24, p. 459) it is 
said that Dieu a donne a ce marquis la jeunesse 
et les ailes de I'aigle, quit est assis pres des 
astres, que I'impie rampe a ses pieds dans la 
boue, qu'il est admire de I'univers, et que son 


genie brille d'un eclat immortel. That is the 
justice that the Marquis renders to himself. 

Pompignan tried to defend himself from Vol- 
taire's attacks, but he only made himself more 
ridiculous. "H addressa un memoire au roi; 
son memoire fut bafoue. Voltaire parut ra- 
jeunir pour s'egayer a ses depens; en vers, en 
prose, sa malice fut plus legere, plus piquante, 
plus feconde en idees originales et plaisantes 
qu'elle n'avait jamais ete. Une saillie n'atten- 
dait pas 1'autre. Le public ne cessa de rire aux 
depens du triste Le Franc. Oblige de se tenir 
enfenne chez lui, pour ne pas entendre chanter 
sa chanson dans le monde, et, pour ne pas se 
voir montrer au doigt, il finit par aller s'en- 
sevelir dans son chateau, ou il est mort, sans 
avoir jamais ose reparaitre a 1'Academie" 
(Marmontel, Memoires, Vol. 1, p. 413). In 
other words, the cure of Irax, itimadoulet de 
Medie, was effected. Voltaire says of Lefranc 
(M. 10, p. 104, Le pauvre Didble), what he 
says of Irax, dont le fonds netait pas mauvais: 
he gives him credit for being a man of merit, 
with the exception of the vanity and vainglory 
of his Discours de reception. This note is of 


1771, and is thus an indication of the time of 
the composition of the episode of Irax. 

The only other character of whom Voltaire 
uses language comparable to that of the epi- 
sode and of the satire on Pompignan, is the 
pope (M. 21, p. 416), who is always right, no 
matter what he says or does. It is likely that 
he meant the episode of Irax to be typical of 
the pope, thus giving it a larger significance. 
The name is explainable on this basis as an 
anagramme of ArcAi(mage). This association 
was the more easily made by the poet since Le- 
franc and his brother were compared to Moses 
and Aaron, destined to lead the chosen people 
of God, and since \ r oltaire calls him " Simon " 
Lefranc, i. e., Simon Barjone, i. e., Peter, as 
the vicar of Christ. 

I have already referred to the same type as 
Itobad in Saint Austin in the Pucelle, who 
sings of the God of vengeance, of the exter- 
minating angel, of twenty thousand Jews cut 
to pieces for a veau, of Joaz killed by Josabad. 
son of Atrobad, et Athcdie, si mechamment mise 
a mort par Joad. He receives the treatment 
that was accorded to Itobad : 


" Austin rougit, il f uit en tapinois : 
Chacun en rit, le paradis le hue. 
Tel fut hue dans les murs de Paris 
Un pedant sec, a face de Thersite, 
Vil delateur, insolent hypocrite, 
Qui fut paye de haiue et de mepris 
Quand il osa, dans ses phrases vulgaires, 
Fletrir les arts et condamner nos freres." 

Lefranc had imitated Rousseau and Des- 
fontaines in composing paraphrases of the 
psalms, and Voltaire's description of the mod- 
ern David (M. 24, p. 125) is similar to his 
description of Saint Augustin : 

" Le cruel Amalec tombe 
Sous le fer de Josue; 
L'orgueilleux Jabin succombe 
Sous le fer d'Albinoe. 
Issacar a pris les armes: 
Zabulon court aux alarmes," etc. 

The verdict of the spectators is mentis non 
compos. He is to be put on a strict regime in 
his native province until he recovers his balance. 
I think that the chief reason why the episode 
of Irax was introduced into Voltaire's novel 
is that the character is of the same general type 
as that of Itobad, and Lefrance had been, in 
part, designated by Itobad. Voltaire repeats 

JE8EAD 257 

against Lefranc the same jests that he made 
against Desfontaines, (1) that he was a pla- 
giarist, a robber in the Eepublic of Letters, (2) 
that he went derriere un jesuite, and (3) that 
his nobility was assumed. In the Car (M. 24, 
p. 261), he says: Ne faites point le grand seig- 
neur, car vous etes d'une bonne bourgeoisie. 
The fact that Lefranc's theft of the subject of 
Alzire occurred at a time when Desfontaines 
and Rousseau were trying to overwhelm the 
poet would readily lead him to subsume them 
under the same symbol. They all proclaim 
their supremacy, their preeminence, but they 
are unable to prove it by their deeds. The 
burden of many a line of Voltaire is : Enter the 
arena, show your prowess, avenge yourself on 
your rival by surpassing him, not by robbing 
him, traducing him, or besmirching his honor. 
In the combats for the supremacy in Baby- 
lon there are only three contestants whose names 
are given: Zadig, Itobad, and Ornate. There 
are good reasons for thinking that Ornate is an 
anagramme for Mahomet. In the chapter on 
Arbogad I have shown the intimate connection 
between the Voltairomanie of Desfontaines and 
the tragedy Mahomet of Voltaire: they are 


equivalent symbols, the symbol of exclusive 
domination. By the composition of his tragedy 
Voltaire becomes the victor of Mahomet and 
Zadig the victor of Ornate. But Desfontaines, 
both by the composition of the Voltairomanie, 
and by his efforts, in conjunction with the other 
enemies of Voltaire, to suppress the tragedy in 
Paris, can claim the victory over Voltaire's 
Mahomet, just as Itobad claims the victory over 
Ornate. This is effected, however, only by 
rapine, by treachery, by traducing virtue into 
vice, by robbing the real victor of the fruit of 
his victory. That is the ultimate significance 
of the episode. Voltaire's only recourse, then, 
was to withdraw from the combat entirely, or 
to enroll himself under the banner of the cross. 
He chose the latter course : he donned cowl and 
gown, he bowed his head and adored. 

But what did he adore ? 

There is always a sense in which everything 
that Voltaire says is true. Undoubtedly every- 
thing in this world is, from the point of view 
of man, "reward, or punishment, or trial, or 
foresight." If we did not learn from experi- 
ence the race would never advance, any more 
than the individual. One does not have to be 

JE8EAD 269 

devout to bow to Providence, or Destiny, or 
whatever one may call the spirit that rules the 
universe. It is the knowledge of what destiny 
is: that is, the inevitable linking of cause and 
effect in a given environment, that makes man 
prudent. It was that knowledge that induced 
Henry IV to say: Paris vaut bien une messe. 
And it was that knowledge which induced Vol- 
taire to think that a place among the Immortals 
was worth his submission to the angel Jesrad. 

I think that this name is influenced by several 
sources, namely, (1) by the name Jesus, (2) 
by the name Jezad among the Persians, (3) 
by the Hebrew Yezer (cf. Jewish Encyclopedia, 
Vol. 12, pp. 601-602, in the Talmud), and (4) 
by the Jezidae, worshippers of the devil. 

Voltaire wished, I think, to characterize 
especially the spirit of Christ and of the Chris- 
tians, the new stoics, as he calls them. The 
passions of man are given to Jam as a necessary 
mainspring of his beingj without them he would 
not act. But when man, whether in the form of 
Christ, Moses, or Mohammed, or the followers 
of any religious prophet, speaks in the name of 
the Deity, and justifies the exercise of his pas- 


sions by the divinity of his mission: when he 
cries, in short, of the Diety : 

" Ce n'est pas moi, c'est lui qui manque a ma parole, 
Qui frappe par mes mains, pille, brule, viole" 

then he makes his passions divine ; he makes the 
devil his God. Voltaire does not hesitate to 
draw this conclusion (M. 9, p. 388) : 

" Les tristes partisans de ce dogme effroydble 
Diraient-ils rien de plus s'ils adoraient le diable? }>1 

Of course there is a sense in which God draws 
the bow, the arrow of which pierces an innocent 
and virtuous heart. That action is not done 
contrary to God's will, for that would involve 
a contradiction in terms ; therefore it was God's 
will. Of course Providence is responsible for 
all that is; it was Providence that robbed the 
rich and hospitable man and gave to the rich 
miser; it was Providence that burnt down the 
philosopher's house; it was Providence that 
wrung the neck of the nephew of the poor widow. 

1 Voltaire seems to wish to indicate the equivalence of 
Jesus and the devil when he says (Annales de I 'Empire, 
Beuchot, 23, p. 121 repeated in Essay sur les Mceurs, 
Beuchot, 16, p. 3) that to invoke the devil and not 
believe in Jesus is a contradiction. 


But the man, whether Moses, or Mohammed, or 
Christ, who claimed to have a special mission, 
a special revelation, and, in short, whoever^ 
used the Deity as a justification of his own 
actions, was simply abusing this eternal verity. 
He was either a madman or an impostor. Zadig * 
judges the actions of Jesrad by his reason and 
condemns them, just as we would judge them 
and condemn them in any one of our fellow 
beings. It is only after the metamorphosis of 
the monk into the angel of light ; it is only when 
we are made to hear the voice of the Deity, the 
voice of revelation, that murder, pillage, rapine, 
become justified. Then, in order to reconcile 
our ideas Of right and justice with whatever 
conflicts with them, we assign motives to the. 
Deity. God had a particular purpose in the 
death of Henry IV, for example, or in the mur- 
der of the poor widow's nephew. We must 
acknowledge that purpose, since our religion 
tells us that God is omniscient, omnipotent and 
ubiquitous, and not a hair can fall from our 
heads without his will. 

Voltaire's first purpose, in the creation of 
this episode, was, I think, to turn the weapons 
of his enemies against them. He had accom- 


plished his purpose:! he was King of Babylon 
and husband of Astarte. He could now say to 
his enemies: That is the result of Providence. 
X His second purpose seems to me to be to mark 
the equivalence of the principles of good and 
evil. Either one is a Manichaean, i. e., a be- 
liever in two eternally warring principles, or a 
Christian, i. e., a believer in an omniscient, 
omnipotent, and all-good God, who has, how- 
ever, given the world over to the devil (cf. M. 
18, p. 165), or one believes in one God, the 
author of all that is. In the first case we really 
have two gods instead of one; in the second 
case the real ruler of the world is the devil ; in 
the third case God is the devil and vice versa. 
Now Voltaire's philosophy was very simple. 1 
Considering, as he did, that jhere is no evil in 
tlio world except "par rapport a nous/' it was 
absurd to speak of the justice or injustice of 
God; we might just as well speak of him as 
blue, or round, or square. Man has no reason 
to, think that God owed him any more happiness 
than falls to his lotj God has made no pact with 
him. Rather than be surprised that God has 
made us so limited in power and capacity, we 
1 Cf . Traite de Metaphysique. 

JE8RAD 263 

should be grateful that our limitations are not 
less than they are. 

Voltaire's third purpose was, I think, to lash ' 
the Providence of the Christians. I deduce this 
conclusion from the name of the angel Jesrad, 
and from his doctrine. The name is compar- 
able, I think, to any such formation as Henri- 
ade, Crepinade, Roussade: it is the satire of 
Jesus. His doctrine is that of the Christians: 
the assigning of motives to God to account for 
evil to man. The philosopher loses a beloved 
child in the bloom of youth; he bears his loss 
as best he may, but he would never for a mo- 
ment consider that God had a special purpose 
in taking his child from him. He would not 
try to console himself by saying that his son 
might have become a wicked man had he lived. 
The Christian, on the other hand, whether he 
formulates his reasons or not, considers that God 
has a special design in everything, whether it 
be the death of his child or the burning of his 
house. His child has been taken from him, be- 
cause he loved it more than God, etc. His 
house has been burned down, because he cared 
too much for temporal possessions. This 
marked for Voltaire the type of the man-god : a 


god with the passions of man infinitely magni- 
fied, jealous like us, envious of our happiness, 
iusulted if we did not take off our hats to 
him, etc. 

The name of the angel was influenced, in all j 
probability, by the name of the indwelling spirit 
of man, as characterized in the Talmud. This 
spirit, Yezer (cf. Jewish Encyclopedia), is both 
good and evil. In the second place, Voltaire 
found in Hyde's Religion of the ancient Per- 
sians the name Jezad, both alone and in com- 
position, both as the name of an angel and as 
the name of God. He found there also a de- 
scription of the cult of the Jezidae, or Jezidi, 
who worshipped the devil, whom they called 
Pavo-Angelus, Peacock Angel. These sectar- 
ians are neither Christians nor Mohammedans, 
but they are closer to the former than to the 
latter, says Hyde. Their Jezid, from whom 
they derive their name, is considered by some 
to be the same as Jesus Christ. > 

As I have already said, there is a sense in 
which everything is reward, or punishment, or 
trial, or foresight; everything has some reac- 
tion upon man, which may be ranged under one 
or the other of these headings. Especially the 


word "trial" (epreuve) lets the Christian out 
of many difficulties. Voltaire says (M. 18, p. 
266) "if there are difficulties that cannot be 
explained away and things that revolt our 
reason, they are merely to try our faith." But 
we can not understand this episode of the angel 
Jesrad unless we look upon it as a principle, 
philosophy, or religion in action in the person 
of some mortal man, who justifies his crimes as 
in the verses already quoted from the Discours 
en vers sur 1'homme : 

" Ce n'est pas moi, c*est lui qui manque a ma parole, 
Qui frappe par mes mains, pttle, br&le, viole." 

The partisans of this frightful dogma could not 
say more if they worshipped the devil. 1 

1 The only episodes of Zadig that I have not treated 
are those dealing with the King of Serendib, and these 
will form part of a future companion volume dealing 
specially with Candide. 


As I have already indicated in the Introduction, the 
warp and woof of my study is a first-hand investiga- 
tion of Voltaire's works, all of which I have read in 
the sole view of interpreting his novels. I have used 
the Moland edition (Paris, 1877-85, 50 volumes, with 
two extra containing an index), except where it was 
not available, namely for the Annales de 1'Empire 
and the Essai sur les Moeurs, where I used Beuchot 
(Paris, 1829^40, 70 volumes, with two extra contain- 
ing the index). For the bibliography of Voltaire's 
works I have consulted Bengesco where there has 
been any necessity of determining the date of a par- 
ticular work. 

In addition the following books have been quoted 
or referred to in the body of my work: 


Marmontel, Jean Francois. (Euvres. Paris, 1818: 
especially his Memoires and History of the Re- 

Maupertius, Pierre Louis Moreau. CEuvres. Lyon, 
1756: especially his Essais sur les progres des 

Rousseau, Jean Baptiste. (Euvres. London, 1723, 
and Brussels, 1743. 



Rousseau, Jean Jacques. CEuvres. Neuchatel, 1764: 
especially his Discours " Si le Re'tablissement des 
arts a contribue* a e"purer les moeurs" and that 
" Sur Porigine et les fondements de I'mSgalite" 
parmi les hoinmes." 


Desnoiresterres, G. Voltaire et la socie'te' au 18 - 

Siecle. 8 vols. Paris, 1871-76. 
Luchet, marquis de (Jean Pierre Louis La Roche du 

Maine). Histoire litteraire de M. de Voltaire. 

6 vols. Cassel, 1780. 
Morley, John. (Life of) Voltaire. 1 vol. London, 

1897, and (Life of) Rousseau (J. J.). 2 vols. 

London, 1873. 
Parton, James. Life of Voltaire. 2 vols. Boston, 

Straus, D. F. Sechs Vortrage tiber Voltaire (vol. 11 

of Gesammelte Schriften). Bonn, 1876-78. 
Tallentyre, S. GK The Life of Voltaire. 2 vols. New 

York, 1903. 


A. Histories of Literature 

Hettner, H. Geschichte der f ranz. Litt. im 18. Jahr. 
5. verb. Auf. Braunschweig, 1894. 

Lanson, O. Histoire de la litterature franc.aise. 
Paris, 1898. 

Petit de Julleville. Histoire de la langue et de la litt. 
francaise des origines a 1900: chapter on the 
novel in the seventeenth and the eighteenth cen- 


B. Histories of Fiction 

Crane, T. F. Introduction to Boileau's " Les Heros 

de Roman." Ginn & Co., 1902. 
Dunlop, J. 0. History of Prose Fiction. Ed. by 

Wilson. London, 1896. 

Le Breton, A. Le Roman au 17 e siecle. Paris, 1890. 
Morillot, P. Le Roman en Trance depuis 1610 

jusqu'a nos jours. Paris, n. d. 
Warren, . History of the Novel previous to the 

seventeenth century. New York, 1895. 

C. Dealing with the Orient 

Conant, Martha P. The Oriental Tale in England in 
the eighteenth century. New York, 1908. 

Hammer-Purgstall. Geschichte der schonen Rede- 
kiinste Persiens. Wien, 1818; tiber die Namen 
der Araber and Geisterlehre der Moslinen, in 
Denksschriften der K. Akad. der Wissenschaften, 
dritter Band, Wien, 1852. 

Herbelot, Barthelemie. Bibliotheque orientale. La 
Haye, 1777-79. 

Hyde, Thomas. Veterum Persarum et Parthorum et 
Medorum Religionis Historia. Editio Secunda, 

Martino, Pierre. L'Orient dans la litterature fran- 
gaise au 17 e et au 18 e siecle. Paris, 1906. 

Meynard, Barbier de. Introduction to, and transla- 
tion of, Le Boustan ou Verger, poeme persan de 
Saadi. Paris, 1880. 

Remy, A. J. F. The Influence of India and Persia 
on the Poetry of Germany. New York, 1901. 



Bonnefon, P. Une inimitiS litte'raire au 18 e siecle. 
Voltaire et Jean Baptiste Rousseau. Revue 
d'Histoire litteraire, Vol. 9, 1902. 

Fraser, Leon. A literary Genealogy. Modern Lan- 
guage Notes. 1906. 

Grafigny, Mme de. Vie privee de Voltaire et de Mme. 
du Chatelet. Paris, 1820. 

Haupt, H. Voltaire in Frankfurt, 1753. Zsc. f . fr. 
Sp. u. U., Vol. 27, 1909. 

Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk and Wagnalls Com- 
pany. New York and London, 1906. 

Mangold, W. Voltaires Rechtstreit mit dem K. 
Schutzjuden Hirschel, 1751. Prozessakten des 
Kb'niglichen-Preussischen Hausarchivs. Berlin, 
1905. Reviewed in Herrigs Archiv, Vol. 16 
(1906), p. 429 ff. 

Paris, Gaston. L'Ange et 1'Eremite, in La Poesie du 
moyen age. Premiere serie, troisieme edition. 
Paris, 1895, p. 151 ff. 

Seele, F. W. Voltaires Roman Zadig ou la destinee; 
eine Quellenforschung. Leipzig, 1891. 


Columbia Univenity in the City of New York 

The Press was incorporated June 8, 1893, to promote the 
publication of the results of original research. It is a private 
corporation, related directly to Columbia University by the 
provisions that its Trustees shall be officers of the University 
and that the President of Columbia University shall be Pres- 
ident of the Press. 

The publications of the Columbia University Press in- 
clude works on Biography, History, Economics, Education, 
Philosophy, Linguistics, Literature, and the following series : 

Columbia University Biological Series. 

Columbia University Studies in Classical Philology. 

Columbia University Studies in Comparative 

Columbia University Studies in English. 

Columbia University Geological Series. 

Columbia University Germanic Studies. 

Columbia University Indo-lranian Series. 

Columbia University Contributions to Oriental His- 
tory and Philology. 

Columbia University Oriental Studies. 

Columbia University Studies in Romance Philology 

and Literature. 

Blumenthal Lectures. Hewitt Lectures. 
Carpentier Lectures. Jesup Lectures. 
Catalogues will be sent free on application. 





the French Language and Literature, College of the City of 
New York. 12mo, cloth, pp. x+267. Price, $1.50 net. 

ALL, Ph.D. 12mo, cloth, pp. ix+147. Price, $1.50 net. 

THAYEK HOIBROOK, Ph.D. 12mo, cloth, xvIii+876. Illus- 
trated. Price, $2.00 net. 

TROJANA. By GEORGE L. HAMILTON, A.M. 12mo, cloth, 
pp. vi+159. Price, $1.25 net. 

nology and Morphology, with illustrative specimens of the 
literature. By Louis EMIL MENGER, Ph.D., late Professor 
of Romance Philology, Bryn Mawr College. 8vo, cloth, 
pp. xx +167. Price, $1.75 net. 

English Translations of the Corneilles and Racine, with 
special reference to their representation on the English 
cloth, pp. xili+295. Price, $1.50 net. 

in Berceo's Vida de Santo Domingo de Silos. By JOHN 
DRISCOLL FITZ-GERALD. Ph.D. 8vo, pp. xili+112. Facsim- 
iles. Price, paper, $1.00 ; cloth, $1.25 net. 

Ph.D. 12mo, cloth, pp. xl+317. Price, $1.50 net. 


STUART, Ph.D. 12mo, cloth, Ix+230. Price, $1.50 net. 

RBES, Ph.D. 12mo, cloth, xvi+664. Price, $2.00 net.